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The Dynamics of the Retail Sector in Ireland by zln29156

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									The Dynamics of the
Retail Sector in
Ireland




                      THE NATIONAL



                      POLICY AND



                      ADVISORY BOARD



                      FOR ENTERPRISE,



                      TRADE, SCIENCE,



                      TECHNOLOGY AND



                      INNOVATION
                                         FUNCTIONS OF FORFÁS
Is é Forfás an bord náisiúnta um polasaí agus comhairle le haghaidh fiontraíochta, trádála, eolaíochta,
teicneolaíochta agus nuála. Is é an comhlacht é a bhfuil comhactaí dlíthiúla an stáit maidir le cur-chun-cinn
tionscail agus forbairt teicneolaíochta dílsithe ann. Is é an comhlacht é freisin trína dciomnaítear
cumhachtaí ar Fhiontraíocht Éireann le tionscail dúchais a chur chus cinn agus ar ghníomhaireacht
Forbartha Tionscail na hÉireann (GFT Éireann) le hinfheistíocht isteach sa tir a chur chun tosaight. Is iad
feighmeanna Fhorfáis :
-   comhairle a chur ar an Aire ó thaobh cúrsaí a bhaineann le forbairt tionscail sa Stát
-   comhairle maidir le forbairt agus comhordú polasaithe a chur ar fáil d’Fhiontraíocht Éireann, d’GFT
    Éireann agus d’aon fhoras eile dá leithéid (a bunaíodh go reachtúil) a d’fhéadfadh an tAire a ainmniú
    trí ordú
-   forbairt na tionsclaíochta, na teicneolaíochta, na margaíochta agus acmhainní daonna a spreagadh sa
    Stát
-   bunú agus forbairt gnóthas tionsclaíoch ón iasacht a spreagadh sa Stát, agus
-   Fiontraíocht Éireann agus GFT Éireann a chomhairliú agus a chomhordú ó thaobh a gcuid
    feidhmeanna.
Forfás is the national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation. It
is the body in which the State’s legal powers for industrial promotion and technology development have
been vested. It is also the body through which powers are delegated to Enterprise Ireland for the
promotion of indigenous industry and to IDA Ireland for the promotion of inward investment. The broad
functions of Forfás are to:
-   advise the Minister on matters relating to the development of industry in the State
-   to advise on the development and co-ordination of policy for Enterprise Ireland, IDAIreland and such
    other bodies (established by or under statute) as the Minister may by order designate
-   encourage the development of industry, technology, marketing and human resources in the State
-   encourage the establishment and development in the State of industrial undertakings from outside the
    State, and
-   advise and co-ordinate Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in relation to their functions.


                                            BOARD MEMBERS
                                                 Tom Toner,
                                                  Chairman
                                             Peter Cassells,
                             General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
                                               Sean Dorgan,
                                        Chief Executive, IDA Ireland
                                               Dan Flinter,
                                     Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland
                                             Paul Haran,
                   Secretary General, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
                                       Professor Michael Hillery,
                         Chair of Manufacturing Engineering, University of Limerick
                                               John Lynch,
                                           Director General, FÁS
                                              William Murphy,
                                    Partner, Tynan Dillon and Company
                                            Fergal O’Rourke,
                                Partner, Taxation, PricewaterhouseCoopers
                                               William Scally,
                                                 Economist
                                       Professor Yvonne Scannell,
                                              Trinity College
                                               John Travers,
                                           Chief Executive, Forfás
Page i                                      THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Foreword

The services sector will be the largest contributor to employment growth over the period
to 2010. The retail sector is the largest part of services, accounting for 11 per cent of total
employment in the economy.

The retail sector plays a critical role in sustaining competitiveness. Strong competition in
the sector has kept prices low and contributed to Ireland’s low inflation. The retail sector
also contributes to competitiveness by influencing Irish manufacturers and suppliers to
increase productivity. Forfás data indicates that around 50 per cent of the output of Irish-
owned food and clothing firms is sold on the Irish market. Over the years, retailers have
played a key role in providing a ‘shop window’ for Irish manufacturers and assisting them
in launching new products and developing the scale and competitiveness required to
compete on international markets. Supplying to the international retail market has served
to enhance innovation, quality and competitiveness of Irish manufacturers.

The pace of structural change in the retail sector in Ireland, underway for the last decade,
has significantly accelerated with increased international ownership. This is evidenced in
the development of larger sized outlets, variations in formats to meet locational and
demographic needs and the growth of symbol groups. Structural change is being driven
by the search for economies of scale, increased market share, vertical integration of the
supply chain, consolidation among the major companies and the integration of information
and communications technologies. The last five years have witnessed a dramatic increase
in cross-border retailer expansion and the internationalisation of large retailers across
Europe and the US.

In order to better understand the impact of these changes on Ireland’s economy, Forfás
commissioned this review¦ of the dynamics of the retail sector. The review was undertaken
in consultation with the retail sector itself and with suppliers and distributors in Ireland and
internationally. The review analyses the nature of the change underway and sets out the
strategic and operational implications for:

•   Retailers;

•   Manufacturers and suppliers;

•   Distributors; and

•   Consumers.

A high level of competition in Irish retail markets is ultimately good for the consumer and
for national competitiveness. This requires Irish retailers and manufacturers to heighten
their awareness of the changes underway and consider how best to respond.

The major strategic challenge for Irish retailers is how to respond to the increasing flow of
international retailers into the Irish marketplace. For Irish manufacturers, the challenge is
how best to respond to the emergence of a small number of multinational retail chains with
significant market share. Increasing retail concentration will result in purchasing for the Irish
market being centralised. The ‘own-label’ share of the Irish grocery market is forecast to
exceed 20 per cent within three to four years. These developments require manufacturers
to strategically reposition their businesses, to develop the scale required for supplying
retailers’ national and international needs and to increase their supply-chain efficiencies.




¦ review was undertaken by a consortium of KPMG Management Consulting, Fitzpatrick Associates Economic Consultants and
   the Centre for Retail Studies, UCD.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page ii



Distributors will face challenges posed by the centralised distribution systems of the major
retailers. Efficiencies in distribution will reduce the number of deliveries to each retail
outlet. The benefits of increased competition and efficiency are being passed on to the
consumer in lower prices. However, the retail industry needs to continue to respond to the
changing lifestyles and purchasing requirements of consumers.

The Government support agencies, particularly Enterprise Ireland, Shannon Development
and An Bord Bia, have a key role in assisting Irish suppliers respond to the challenges.
The regulatory environment has an important contribution to make in retaining the spatial
balance of retail activity in the regions and in ensuring balanced development in urban
areas.

Irish retailers and manufacturers that are leading and adapting to the structural changes
are reaping the benefits of the buoyancy in consumer demand in the Irish economy. In
particular, Irish manufacturers are benefiting from the opportunities for accessing new
markets by supplying to multinational retailers abroad. For those adopting a ‘wait and see’
approach, the need to develop a response is immediate.

These and associated issues are discussed in detail in this review. The analysis set out
and conclusions drawn will be of interest to retailers, manufacturers, distributors,
consumers, the State development agencies and policy makers.



Forfás                                                                    November 1999
The Dynamics of the
Retail Sector in
Ireland




             Report prepared for Forfás by:

           KPMG Management Consultants
     Fitzpatrick Associates Economic Consultants
The Centre for Retail Studies, University College Dublin
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND     Page iii



Contents
Forfás Foreword                                             i

Executive Summary                                      iv

1. Overview of the Retail Sector                        1
   1.1   Introduction                                   1
   1.2   Study Approach and Methodology                 2
   1.3   Definitions                                    2
   1.4   Supply Chain                                   4

2. International Retail Sector                          5
   2.1 Summary                                         5
   2.2 Retail Structure and Structure Trends           7
   2.3 Developments in the Retail Sector              15

3. The Irish Retail Sector                            37
   3.1   Summary                                      37
   3.2   Consumer Spending & Shopping Patterns        38
   3.3   Retail Outlets and Formats                   40
   3.4   Food Sector Retail                           42
   3.5   Clothing Sector Retail                       45
   3.6   Role of Retail in the Economy                46
   3.7   Competitiveness of the Retail Sector         58
   3.8   Future Scenarios                             64

4. Supply Chain Implications                          72
   4.1 Summary                                       72
   4.2 Implications for Retailers                    75
   4.3 Implications for Distributors                 81
   4.4 Implications for Suppliers                    82
   4.5 Implications for the Consumer                104
   4.6 Implications for Retail Employment           105

5. Conclusions and Recommendations                  106
   5.1   Summary                                    106
   5.2   Introduction                               109
   5.3   Retailers                                  109
   5.4   Suppliers                                  111
   5.5   Distributors                               113
   5.6   Environment Enabling                       114
Page iv                                     THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.0       INTRODUCTION

In its long term strategy report ‘Shaping Our Future: A Strategy for Enterprise in Ireland in
the 21st Century’, Forfás noted that the dynamics that drive the development of the
services sector, in particular of the domestic services sector, are poorly understood. As a
first step in examining the dynamics of this substantive sector of the Irish economy and its
role in improving and sustaining competitiveness, Forfás commissioned a study on the
retail sector in Ireland and internationally. The study was carried out by a consortium
comprising KPMG, Fitzpatrick Associates, Economic Consultants and the Centre for Retail
Studies, University College Dublin.

This study of the retail sector provides an important insight into the changes underway in
the services sector overall. The Irish retail sector is in a phase of significant development
driven by the strong growth in the economy in recent years and continuing
internationalisation of the sector.

The objectives of the study were to:

•    Examine the role of the retail sector in competitiveness and to determine how the
     competitiveness and productivity of the Irish retail sector compares with that of other
     countries. The aim was to identify whether there are inefficiencies/barriers in the retail
     market to realising the full potential of the sector for employment and wealth creation
     and determine the policy implications;

•    Examine the trends, impact and implications of the structural change taking place in
     retailing and the implications of these changes for Irish retailers;

•    Examine the implications of these changes for suppliers of goods and services
     dependent on the retail sector as an outlet to consumer markets. The objective was to
     make proposals to assist Irish suppliers of goods and services prepare for, and
     respond to, the changes underway and to develop proposals for increasing the
     linkages between Irish suppliers and the retail sector;

•    Identify potential growth areas and ICT-based opportunities in the retail sector.

The study focused specifically on the food and clothing retail sectors in Ireland and
internationally, given their important linkages with the manufacturing sector in the country.


2.0       CONTRIBUTION TO THE IRISH ECONOMY
          AND COMPETITIVENESS
The retail sector contributed 6.0% of GDP in 1997, a rise from 5.1% of GDP in 19941. This
performance contrasts with that of the services sector overall, whose contribution to GDP
remained at 54 per cent overall between 1994 and 1997. Overall, the contribution of the
retail sector to GDP is commensurate with Ireland’s level of economic development2.




1 Annual Services Enquir y, 1997.
2 National Income and Expenditures, CSO, various years.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                                        Page v



According to CSO data, in 1998, retail accounted for 10.8% of total employment, above
the EU average for retail employment. It accounted for a third of employment in the private
services sector. Female participation has also increased from 40% in 1990 to 49% in
1998. Part-time work in retail has been increasing, rising from 27% to 40% of total
employed between 1988 and 1994. While only one in eleven men in retail are part-time,
one in three women work part-time. On the basis of the historical trend the proportion of
total employment accounted for by retail is likely to remain at about the same level into the
future, and overall employment could rise from 161,000 persons in 1998 to almost
199,000 by 2003.

The retail sector plays an important role in the overall competitiveness of the economy by
keeping inflation low. The food, clothing and footwear sectors account for 29 per cent of
inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI). The sectors of food, clothing
and footwear combined contributed only 0.07 of a 1.2% increase in inflation in the twelve
months to July 1999. Keeping prices low and price increases to a minimum in these two
sectors through increased competition can make a significant contribution to sustaining
Ireland’s low inflation performance 3.

In this regard, it is estimated that a significant increase in the penetration of ‘own-label’
(products sold under the retailer brand) products in Ireland, which can be 25-30% lower in
price than branded products, coupled with increased competition, could benefit
competitiveness through an incremental constraint on inflation of up to 2.7% over the next
three to five years.

The retail sector accounted for 7% of total national wages and salaries in 1997. This
indicates that wages and salaries are lower in retail than in other sectors of the economy,
given that the sector accounted for 10.8% of total employment in that year.

From a regional development perspective, the retail sector tends to support balanced
development with employment in retail broadly commensurate with Ireland’s population
distribution.

The retail sector is also a significant part of the value chain of the manufacturing sector in
Ireland, providing an outlet to consumer markets. Up to 50% of the output of Irish-owned
food and clothing firms is sold on the Irish market, with associated employment of up to
17,500. The sector provides an important ‘shop window’ for many Irish manufacturers. It
has played a key role in assisting Irish manufacturers launch new products and develop
the scale and competitiveness in their home market required to compete on international
markets. The links and levels of co-operation between the retail sector, whether Irish or
foreign, and the manufacturing sector are therefore important issues from an industrial
development perspective.

Retail is also a significant source of tourism revenue. According to Bord Fáilte 47% of
overseas visitors cite shopping opportunities as a reason for visiting Ireland. Retail
shopping accounts for 18% of total expenditure by visitors to Ireland.

Based on comparative international data, on operating margins, productivity, revenue per
square foot and employee costs, the performance of the retail sector in Ireland is not far
behind that of other countries. On a number of qualitative measures Irish retailers may not
yet be as competitive as retailers in other countries in areas such as purchasing functions,
category management, supply chain management, consumer marketing and store
management. With regard to the competitiveness of Irish department stores, the leading
Irish stores compare favourably with their international counterparts.




3 Over the 12 month period to July 1999 inflation (CPI) increased only by 1.2%; food prices increased by 1.9% over the period
  while clothing and footwear prices actually decreased by 8.0%.
Page vi                              THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



3.0        THE IRISH RETAIL MARKET
Ireland has a number of key attractions as a retail market despite its relatively low overall
population density: 57% of the population live in urban areas, it has a young population
with 88% below 65, strong forecast rates of GDP growth and GDP per capita now above
that of the EU average. Retail growth has been strong in Ireland; retail sales have
increased by 52.4% since 1991, or 35.9% in volume terms. Retail sales increased by 9.1%
in 1996 alone in real terms. However, retail sales per capita remain below the European
average indicating scope for further growth.

While Dublin has 29% of the population of the country, it has 21% of retail outlets. Retail
outlets in Dublin are however larger in terms of floorspace than in the rest of the country.
Turnover per employee is also lower outside Dublin, with a variation of +/- £10,000 around
the average. The average size of outlet in Dublin is approaching that of the average in the
UK and France. The number of grocery stores in Ireland per 1,000 population is between
3-4 times that in the UK, France and Germany. However, the relatively smaller size of
Ireland’s retail sector is illustrated by the fact that Ireland’s largest retailer is only ranked
97th in Europe by size of turnover. Ireland also has one of the highest food to non-food
retail store ratios in Europe, with 36% of outlets in Ireland being food outlets.

Compared with other European countries Ireland has a level of concentration i.e., the
market share held by major retailers, is similar to that in Nordic countries. Low growth or
stagnation in retail spending across Europe is giving rise to intense competition and
increasing concentration in the European retail sector. The Nordic countries have the
highest levels of concentration and limited foreign presence. The North Mainland
European markets and the UK are characterised by medium levels of concentration. The
Mediterranean countries are characterised by large numbers of small outlets.

          TABLE 1:        Retail outlets in Ireland, 1988 and 1998

          Outlet Type                       1988                       1998
          Grocery                         10,670                      9,181
          Pubs/Off Licences                 8,020                     8,642
          Other Food                        3,110                     2,857
          Drapery/Footware                  4,788                     4,259
          Restaurants                       1,911                     3,102
          Other                           16,207                    24,723
          Total                           44,706                    52,764
          Source: AC Nielsen, 1998

As in other countries, there have been some significant changes in the structure of the
retail sector in Ireland over the last decade as shown in Table 1. In overall terms, the
number of retail outlets grew by 8,058 units between 1988 and 1998, a growth of 18% over
the period. However, grocery outlet numbers declined by 1,489 units or by 14% over the
period, while the number of other traditional outlets such as drapery and footwear declined
by 11% over the same period.

The overall growth in retail numbers over the last decade has been in the ‘other’ category.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page vii



This growth is attributed to the development of a wide range of new shop formats, many
of which are in the personal service segment and in high technology sectors, e.g.,
computers and communications. The share of outlets in the ‘other’ category has increased
from 36% of retail outlets in 1988 to 47% in 1998.

        TABLE 2:         Food Retail Outlets, 1988, 1991 & 1998

        Outlet Type                       1988            1991           1998
        Multiples                           149            154            157
        Symbol Groups                     1,134            999          1,152
        Independents                      9,387          9,119          7,872
        Total                           10,670          10,272          9,181
        Source: AC Nielsen


In the food sector, the number of independent food outlets declined by 16% over the
period 1988 to 1998 as illustrated in Table 2. Analysis of the data indicates that
independent specialist shops such as butchers and greengrocers have been quite resilient
to change and the decline in the independent sector has been mainly in the general
grocery type shop outlets. While the increase in the number of outlets of the multiples
appears small from 1988 to 1998, the market share of this category has increased
significantly over the period. The Symbol Groups (e.g., Mace, Spar) have shown some
recovery in recent years increasing their outlet numbers by 15% from 1991 to 1998.
Recent growth in the outlets of symbol groups has been concentrated in smaller sized
convenience stores and garage forecourt shops.

It is also worth noting that there has been significant growth in the market share of quality
own-label products in the rest of Europe, as retailers seek out higher margins and more
innovative and higher quality convenience products. The market share of own-label in the
Irish grocery market, while below that in other European countries, continues to grow
strongly, in particular in the food sector. Bord Bia estimate own label penetration to have
reached 15 per cent in 1999 compared with an EU average of 22 per cent. Own label is
estimated to have reached a high of 20% in the grocery sector overall in Ireland in 1987.

Own label penetration is higher among retail multiples than in symbol group retailers and
independents. A detailed review of 20 product lines in the food sector in Ireland with own-
label products, for which own-label penetration averaged 7.8% in 1998, indicates that
own-label penetration ranged from 9.3% among retail multiples, 6.2% in symbol group
stores and 2.5% among independent retail stores in 1998.4




4 AC Nielson, 1998.
Page viii                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Growth in the Irish retail sector, in the form of increasing shop numbers and employment
contrasts with the stagnating retail markets in the UK and mainland Europe. It is safe to
assume that the retail sector will continue to grow in tandem with overall growth in the
economy. Such potential increases the Irish sector’s attractiveness to international
retailers and is likely to further increase competition in the market.



4.0         RETAIL CHANGE

4.1         Drivers of Retail Change Internationally

There are significant changes underway in the international retail sector. Some are
already evident in the Irish retail market while others are now beginning to show an
impact. The key drivers of change in the retail sector are:

•     Consumer shopping habits and meal preparation habits are changing. This is driving
      the food retail structure to one of large stores for once-weekly shopping trips and
      smaller convenience stores for top-up purchases;

•     Relatively low growth in retail spending across Europe, particularly in the food sector,
      which is generating substantial competition between retailers;

•     A shift in the determinant of consumer demand from price consciousness to value-for-
      money;

•     A stronger preference for service and convenience, both in retail service and also in
      product choice;

•     The development of a more international outlook and a greater awareness of
      international brands;

•     More focused marketing methods, referred to as ‘mass customisation’, and
      competition for consumer loyalty;

•     The retail sector is still relatively highly regulated in many countries, specifically in
      the areas of planning regulations in respect of new store development and
      working hours;

•     Developments in information and communications technologies (ICTs) are enabling
      improvements in market research and analysis, and supply chain management. This
      is driving significant change in international retail supply chains as retailers seek out
      increasing efficiencies and seek to reduce inventories.

4.2         Key International Retail Trends

There are four key trends in the retail sector internationally, that are already in evidence in
the Irish market to a certain degree. As summarised in Figure 1 these include the trend to
larger size, to increasing diversification, to competing on customer service offered and to
increasing retailer influence over supply chains.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                     Page ix



FIGURE 1:            International Retail Change


                  Size & Structure                                  Diversification
    The strucuture of the retail sector is            Retailers are pursuing growth through
    changing as:                                      diversification into:
    •     retailers are growing larger through        •   new product areas, by food retailers
          mergers and acquisitions both in                into non-food goods, and into new
          domestic and international markets;             markets such as DIY and music;
    •     the number of large sized stores is         •   new business sectors such as banking
          increasing significantly;                       and insurance; and
    •     levels of concentration in retail markets   •   new geographic markets, nationally
          are increasing;                                 and internationally, mail order,
    •     order sizes and deliveries from                 tele-shopping and e-commerce.
          suppliers are growing; and
    •     suppliers are increasing in scale.
                                                            Supply-Chain Management
                  Customer Service                    Retailers are increasing their control over
    Customer service is developing rapidly            the whole supply chain by implementing:
    through:                                          •   centralised distribution;
    •     home shopping and delivery;                 •   efficient consumer response (ECR);
    •     Internet shopping;                          •   increased traceability of goods;
    •     longer opening hours;                       •   increased investment in Information
    •     loyalty card schemes;                           Technology;
    •     better in-store service;                    •   supplier rationalisation programmes;
                                                          and
    •     micro-marketing to individual
          customers; and                              •   greater involvement in supplier
                                                          operations.
    •     improved mail order.


4.3         Future Trends in Ireland

The expected future trends in the retail sector in Ireland are that:

•       The retail sector can be expected to continue to grow in line with the overall growth of
        the economy, thereby providing further employment and an increasing contribution to
        economic activity;

•       Retail shop numbers are likely to continue to grow. Food shop numbers are expected
        to decline, in particular in the independent sector, either through closure or through
        migration to Symbol Groups. Clothing shop numbers are expected to remain at
        current levels;

•       The level of concentration, i.e., the market share held by major retailers, in both the
        food and clothing sectors, is expected to continue to increase;

•       Further consolidation in the market can be expected through mergers and acquisitions
        of Irish retailers by Irish and foreign retailers in the Irish market. Acquisition is likely to
        be the mode of market entry for large scale foreign retailers into the future. The
        expansion by foreign retailers out of the new retail complexes in the main cities to
Page x                              THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



      other complexes within the country can be expected. The current cap on ‘green field’
      retail developments is likely to contribute to these trends;

•     Average store sizes will increase, but the maximum size may be capped by
      planning regulation;

•     The introduction of the euro should significantly increase the level of price
      transparency in the Irish retail market. It can be expected that Irish price levels will
      converge with those of other European countries, leading to some price reductions;

•     The major retail chains are likely to develop a range of new shop formats to meet the
      requirements of towns of various population sizes. The development of new formats
      is likely to increase competition further between the multiples, symbol group stores
      and independents;

•     The market share of own-label goods in the Irish market is forecast to increase
      from 15% at present to over 20%, towards the average of other European countries;

•     Centralised distribution for supplying the retail sector in Ireland is set to increase
      dramatically and thereby transform the retail supply chain structure in Ireland. This is
      expected to significantly impact on the economics of Irish manufacturers’ distribution
      strategies. Outsourcing to specialist logistics management firms is likely to increase
      substantially;

•     New retail formats, including factory outlets, retail warehouse parks and ‘hard’
      discounters are likely to emerge. Some of these will be developed by new entrants to
      the Irish market.

In the long term, the structure of retailing in Ireland will be determined by the pace of
economic development, the emergence and speed of adoption of new technology,
planning regulations and the rate at which consumers adopt new buying patterns. If the
experience in the US is replicated in Ireland, then, as personal incomes rise there is likely
to be a continuous shift to eating out and purchases of cooked meals. It can be expected
that the proportion of basic food products purchased by consumers in stores will decline
as they shift to ready-to-serve meals, both cooked and uncooked.


5.0       IMPLICATIONS OF RETAIL CHANGE

Ultimately Irish consumers and the competitiveness of the economy generally will benefit
from a strong, competitive retail market. The changes underway however will have a
significant impact on retailers, suppliers and distributors for which they need to prepare.

5.1       Implications for Consumers

Irish consumers have already benefited significantly from the changes underway in the retail
sector in recent years as retailers have invested in innovative formats, wider product ranges
and improved customer services. The consumer is likely to continue to benefit further from
sustained high levels of competition and the internationalisation of retail markets. For
example, one possible scenario of the likely consumer benefits, is that if:
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                            Page xi



•     the share of own-label products in Ireland increased to 20 to 25 per cent and that the
      historic differentials between the price of own-label and branded products remain;

•     the projected supply chain efficiency improvements and streamlining of the distribution
      continuing; and

•     the savings and efficiency gains are passed directly to the consumer;

benefits of up to an estimated £300 million per annum could develop over the period 1997
to 2002. This would be equivalent to about 7% of current food spend in Ireland. There is
however, no guarantee that these benefits will accrue in total to consumers, other than
through a fully competitive market.

5.2       Implications for Retailers

The rapid pace of change in retailing and the internationalisation of the sector poses both
opportunities and threats for Irish retailers. Irish retailers need to maintain a focus on their
competitiveness, cost structures, levels of investment and innovation. Retailers need to
assess their options both to take advantage of the growth in the economy and increasing
disposable income while also ensuring they respond to the competitive challenge from
both foreign retailers locating in Ireland and the development of electronic retailing. These
changes will require retailers to:

•     increase their use of information technology in marketing, operations and supply chain
      management strategies to extend their influence or take control of supply chains and
      to develop electronic commerce activities;

•     continue to develop collaborative arrangements with other retailers to purchase more
      competitively from international sources;

•     develop new store formats in new areas and expand existing units;

•     diversify into new businesses and new markets;

•     continue to develop new and improved customer services;

•     extend own-label ranges either through direct purchasing from manufacturers
      or through membership of larger retail groups;

•     develop more focused marketing programs; and

•     improve product development and innovation activities and capabilities.

5.3       Implications for Distributors

There is potential for rationalisation in the retail distribution structure in Ireland and the
research undertaken indicates that there is potential for significant efficiency
improvements in Ireland’s distribution system by European standards. Key implications for
distributors include:

•     Imported products for major retailers may be supplied from distribution centres in other
      countries. This could reduce the volume of goods carried by Irish distributors unless
      there are demonstrable efficiency benefits from using Irish distributors;
Page xii                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



•     Retailers are pushing for more centralised distribution system for Irish supplies,
      and this is likely to be developed through dedicated third party carriers;

•     The economics of distribution in Ireland are set to change. This will require distributors
      such as Cash & Carrys to develop a stronger role as regional consolidators to enable
      independents to remain competitive;

•     Major retailers are likely to drive developments such as Efficient Consumer Response
      (ECR) which will require substantial investment in systems and capability by suppliers
      for efficient supply chain management.

5.4        Implications for Suppliers

Increasing concentration in the retail sector in Ireland is likely to result in purchasing for
the Irish market being centralised into a small number of large retailers. The ‘own-label’
share of the Irish retail market is forecast to increase to over 20% over the next 3-4 years.
The number of brands in some product categories carried by retailers is set to decrease
markedly and is likely to generally include the brand leader, an own-label product and
perhaps a third budget brand.

The main implication for Irish suppliers to both the grocery and clothing sectors is that
foreign retailers entering the Irish market are extending their existing supply chains to
Ireland using existing ‘preferred partner’ suppliers. The quality, product innovation,
production, systems and distribution requirements of these retailers may differ from those
that many suppliers may previously have had to meet. Accordingly, Irish suppliers that
may not previously have supplied substantially to foreign multiples and are seeking to
maintain their access to supply chains serving the Irish market may face significant
competitiveness challenges.

Specifically:

•     Branded product suppliers will need a continuous focus on product innovation,
      differentiation and marketing to ensure their branded products are ‘must carry’ lines;

•     The capacity of Irish suppliers to supply ‘own-label’ products competitively will need to
      be significantly increased, for example, through strategic repositioning, increasing
      operational efficiencies, increasing scale, reducing product lines, forming value-added
      partnerships with other suppliers, productivity improvement agreements and training;

•     Significant resources will need to be devoted to proactive new product development
      by suppliers, in particular, for own-label products. These activities should be based on
      the market research of retailers and on international developments, in conjunction with
      the national food research bodies;

•     Quality production and management systems will increasingly be determined by
      retailers and compliance with these standards will be a prerequisite for supply;

•     With respect to production planning and management, suppliers will need to have a
      strong customer response capability, including just-in-time supply with stock
      minimisation, and they will need to undertake a radical shortening of the throughput
      time of production;
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                Page xiii



•    In-house information and communications technology (ICT) systems and capabilities
     for supply chain and logistics management, will require to be upgraded to be
     compatible with the changing electronic data interchange (EDI) and systems
     requirements of the retailers, including Internet/Extranet systems;

•    Suppliers need to undertake a fundamental review of the economics of their
     distribution systems and strategies, in the context of the move to centralised
     distribution. It is estimated that up to 50 per cent of food distribution in Ireland may be
     centralised over the next 3-4 years;

•    In the future, almost all supplier relationships with the multiples and large retail groups
     are likely to be centralised. Suppliers will need to build strong working relationships
     with the centralised buying teams of retailers, in Ireland and abroad. Suppliers need
     to determine and understand the purchasing requirements and procedures of the
     retailers, in particular having regard to the category management strategies of the
     multiples for specific product lines so as to identify competitiveness gaps at a strategic
     or operational level that may be barriers to supply.


5.5 Growth Areas and Opportunities


Niche and Specialist Expansions Abroad
Ireland has already seen a number of specialist and niche retailers expanding their
networks overseas. The opportunities for the expansion of specialist and niche Irish
retailers into the UK and other European markets can be expected to continue.

E-Commerce and Tele-shopping
Tele-shopping and retailing on the Internet are forecast to be the most significant growth
areas in retailing into the future. In May 1999, 171 million people across the globe had
access to the Internet, over half of them in the US and Canada5. By 2001 it is forecast that
up to 300m people will be using the Internet. Online retail trade is estimated at between
$7.0 billion and $15 billion in 1998, and could range between $40 billion to $80 billion in
20026. A number of supermarkets in the UK already have trials on the development of
teleshopping. One Irish retailer plans to provide a full teleshopping service in Ireland by
the year 2000.

The development of the Internet and electronic commerce presents significant
opportunities for Irish retailers, particularly for retailers of high-value, non-perishable
goods and Irish-themed products that can be cost-effectively delivered by post. Ireland
has already gained a leadership position in the remote selling of computers and a number
of Irish retailers have a presence on the world-wide-web.

There are significant opportunities for employment and wealth creation in Ireland
throughout the electronic retail value chain. These include multimedia content creation for
advertising, web pages and virtual shopping malls, transaction processing, and the
packaging, warehousing and distribution of physical goods. There is also the opportunity
for Ireland to take an early leadership position as an international location/hub for Internet-
based shopping activities in the above areas, provided Ireland can develop the required
broadband telecommunications infrastructure and international logistics services for
competitive parcel delivery. Key growth areas for Ireland and Irish retailers include
gourmet and luxury foods, clothing, crafts, books, and the digital transmission of
entertainment products, music/audio, films, videos and software.




5 For complete survey results, definitions and methodology see http://www.nua.ie/surveys.
6 The Digital Economy II, US Department of Commerce, June 1999.
Page xiv                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Cross-group Sales
For manufacturers, while the entry of foreign retailers into the Irish market can mean extra
competitive pressures, it can also offer significant opportunities for international cross-
group sales. These can be facilitated in particular through back-loading on delivery
containers returning from Ireland to distribution centres abroad. An Bord Bia and
Enterprise Ireland are working with a number of Irish-based suppliers to increase such
cross-group sales and there are likely to be continued opportunities in the medium term.


6.0        CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

6.1        Introduction

Recognising the dynamic role played by the retail sector in economic development,
employment growth and wealth creation, the following future objectives for the sector are
proposed:

•     To maximise consumer benefits through full price and quality competition in the Irish
      retail market;

•     To deliver retail services to world class standards;

•     To ensure full adherence to competition rules on monopolies and mergers;

•     To continue to develop a competitive and innovative retail sub-supply sector
      maximising the links between Irish sub-suppliers and the retail sector;

•     To develop a strong Irish internationally trading retail sector taking full advantage of
      developments in e-commerce.

The following policy principles are proposed to guide the future approach to the
retail sector:
•     A full recognition of the key role of the retail sector in the economy in future national
      policy formulation and an integration of the requirements of the retail sector with other
      aspects of economic policy and enterprise strategy e.g., in transport and land use
      planning;

•     A retail market fully open to competition, ensuring fair and competitive practices,
      in particular to protect the interests of consumers;

•     Planning guidelines that encourage sustainable retail development and encourage a
      balanced assessment of retail’s impact on transport infrastructure and town planning;

•     The major responsibility for the development and growth of the sector must be with the
      industry itself and its trade and representative associations, with the state providing a
      facilitating and enabling environment.

6.2        Retailers

Significant structural change is underway in retailing and a strategic response is required
from the Irish retail sector and its trade and representative associations. There is a need
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                               Page xv



for these associations to continue to proactively raise the levels of awareness of the
structural changes taking place in the retail sector among their members and, to identify
strategic responses and initiatives to improve their competitiveness. Based on the findings
of this study, initiatives in the following areas are needed for Irish retailers to respond and
manage the change underway:

•     The Irish retail sector needs to increase the levels of information disseminated on the
      changes taking place, and develop appropriate action plans to respond, remain
      competitive and drive the change process. Representative and trade associations
      have a key role to play in this respect, in monitoring, informing and supporting Irish
      retailers to prepare for the changes underway;

•     Irish retailers need to increase collaboration and information dissemination on
      technology and management practices, e.g., in forging alliances to achieve economies
      of scale and increase their purchasing power in the sourcing of goods and services;

•     Retailers need to work closely with other sectors of economic activity, such as banking and
      finance, to improve and extend the range of services offered to customers. There is potential
      for considerable synergies to be achieved between such sectors in the changeover to the
      euro, for example, and in accelerating the development of electronic commerce;

•     Retailers will need to adapt quickly to the use of information and communications
      technology (ICT) in their operations and to develop appropriate ICT deployment
      strategies for exploiting electronic commerce. Such strategies need to focus, in
      particular, on the deployment of ICTs in supply chains where it can impact on efficiency
      and competitiveness. The Internet can also increase the market research capabilities
      of retailers, enabling them to both monitor changes in consumer demands and
      respond to consumer demands for value added services such as loyalty cards;

•     FÁS, in conjunction with representative organisations, already plays a role in
      developing the capability of the retail sector through the provision of training and re-
      training programmes and management development programmes. The focus of
      resources allocated to the provision of training services in the retail sector by FÁS,
      require to be continually assessed in light of the changing needs of the sector;

•     Specialist and niche retailers need to work with the development agencies, to
      determine opportunities for international trade, either through outlet expansion abroad
      or electronic commerce. They need to assess the potential for internationalisation and
      to determine the actions required to prepare for and to take advantage of the
      opportunities presented by the internationalisation of retailing.

6.3       Suppliers

The major challenge for Irish suppliers is to bring their operational systems and processes
up to the competitive standards required for supplying retailers into the future. This is
particularly the case for suppliers that do not have a strong brand leadership or niche market
position and for whom the only other option may be to reposition as an own-label supplier.
There is an urgent need for manufacturers to assess their ability to meet the requirements
of Irish and foreign retailers for competitive supply. There is also a need for a focused agency
response to assist Irish suppliers develop their capability, capacity and competitiveness for
supply.
Page xvi                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



The Retail Supplier Development Programme being developed by Enterprise Ireland is an
important initiative. It should be strongly supported and extra funding should be allocated
to the programme to increase the number of participating firms. It is recommended that
the development and work of the programme be guided by a broadly based Steering
Group involving the development agencies, retailers and suppliers. The number of
agencies involved in the programme requires to be expanded to include An Bord Bia, An
Bord Glas and the Food Safety Authority. Both food and non-food firms need to get
actively involved in the programme. The activities of each of the agencies with respect to
seeking to increase supplies to the retail sector need to be fully co-ordinated through the
Group. The establishment of retailer specific teams with suppliers and retailers’ needs to
be considered as part of the programme.

In overall terms the following require to be given a high priority by the development
agencies and the retail sub-supply base:

•   The capacity and capability of the Irish food and clothing sectors to meet the ever
    more demanding requirements for supplying to the retail sector, both in Ireland and
    internationally requires continuous assessment. Suppliers need to continuously focus
    on building their capability and capacity to meet the exacting requirements of Irish and
    foreign retailers. Increasing the levels of collaboration between suppliers should be
    used as a means of increasing the ability of suppliers to develop the scale needed for
    volume supply to the larger retailers;

•   The requirements for the deployment of information and communications technologies
    (ICTs) throughout the supply chains of supplier enterprises need to be more widely
    understood by Irish suppliers. Suppliers need to adopt supply chain management
    strategies and Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) strategies in order to improve the
    efficiency of the retail supply chain in Ireland. The use of Electronic Data Interchange
    (EDI) and e-commerce by Irish suppliers requires to be significantly increased;

•   It is recommended that the National Institute for Transport & Logistics give a priority in
    its work to assisting Irish food and clothing suppliers respond to the structural change
    in the retail sector and to the potential restructuring of the retail supply chain in these
    sectors in Ireland;

•   The levels of product research, development and innovation in the food sector, in
    particular in the chilled convenience food sector requires to be significantly increased.
    In this regard Enterprise Ireland’s Supplier Development Programme needs to involve
    and draw on the expertise of the national food research bodies. The need for
    increased investment or a specific initiative in the product development infrastructure
    requires to be assessed;

•   The stringent quality, hygiene and food safety management systems required for
    supplying into the retail sector into the future require continuous monitoring to ensure
    Irish suppliers maintain the high standards required. Suppliers should be assisted in
    developing action plans to address deficiencies identified;

•   A particular emphasis needs to be placed on identifying opportunities for Irish
    suppliers in own-label products, both nationally and internationally, and on assisting
    suppliers to take advantage of opportunities identified;
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page xvii



•     The relationships between Irish suppliers and the global sourcing departments of
      major retailers need to be strengthened;

•     A benchmarking system should be established to monitor the market share, exports,
      productivity and ICT investment levels of the Irish food and clothing sectors. It should
      use the methodology developed as part of the ESRI study for the Department of
      Enterprise, Trade and Employment with Enterprise Ireland and An Bord Bia, to monitor
      the performance in terms of purchases by Tesco from Ireland against commitments
      given to the Department on its acquisition of Quinnsworth/Crazy Prices. This
      benchmarking work should include all retailers with significant market power.

6.4       Distributors and Wholesalers

As noted above the retail supply chain in Ireland is likely to be significantly shortened, as
retailers take control of their own supply chains to optimise efficiencies. Distributors will
need to develop partnerships with and adopt the structures of the major retailers. In the
future, unless retailers can identify benefits and economies in linking up with Irish
distributors they will continue to develop their own distribution structures and transport
arrangements. In the future:

•     Distributors will need to adapt to the structures being developed internationally.
      Significant investment in ICTs and tracking systems will be required. They will need to
      work with the National Institute for Transport & Logistics in preparing for the changes
      underway;

•     Locally-based wholesalers and Cash & Carry groups, will have a key role in assisting
      the independent retail sector adapt to the changes underway in the retail supply chain,
      as it becomes uneconomic for suppliers to distribute both to central distribution centres
      and to the independents. Independent retailers will need to benefit fully from the
      purchasing power of these wholesalers if they are to compete effectively in a changing
      retail environment and increase investment in ICTs and new formats. Wholesale
      groups will also need to give a priority to developing ranges of quality own-label
      products as the perceptions of quality and value of own-label goods increase and
      consumers move away from branded goods.

6.5       Environment Enabling

The retail sector faces the same competitive pressures as other sectors in the economy.
It requires a supportive regulatory environment that encourages competition and promotes
innovation. The availability of advanced infrastructures and a competitive cost base,
impact on the competitiveness of the retail sector in the same way as on other sectors.
The competitiveness and requirements of Irish suppliers and retailers needs to be
monitored and benchmarked on a continuous basis.
Page xviii                         THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



6.5.1        Telecommunications Infrastructure

Increasingly information exchanges on orders, production planning and invoicing are
facilitated through the introduction of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) networks and the
use of e-commerce by retailers and suppliers. Retailers increasingly require total
traceability throughout the food chain, which can be enabled by e-commerce. In relation
to EDI, the key issue is the development of a national EDI infrastructure providing real time
links between retailers and suppliers. There are concerns among small companies that
they are at a competitive disadvantage in relation to communications costs and services
relative to competitor suppliers in other countries.

The rapid growth of electronic commerce is opening up new markets and providing new
means of delivering products and services. It is also increasing the levels of competition
in home markets. The availability of broadband national and international links will also be
critical for the development of trade in goods and services via the Internet and specifically
for increasing the opportunities for smaller and niche Irish retailers and manufacturers to
enter international markets. The provision of the required broadband telecommunications
infrastructure could enable Ireland to develop a leadership position in Internet based
shopping activities.

6.5.2        Planning Regulation

The current review of planning regulations in respect of retail developments being
undertaken by the Department of the Environment and Local Government is an important
initiative. In June 1998 the Minister for the Environment and Local Government made a
Policy Directive and Regulations under the Planning Acts to limit the size of supermarket
development to 3,000 sq. metres, pending the carrying out of a detailed study and
publication of Planning Guidelines by the Department. Draft guidelines were published in
April 1999, which recommended retaining the 3,000 sq. metres limit outside Dublin and a
limit of 3,500 sq. metres in greater Dublin.

The appropriateness of the proposed limits to national economic and social needs and for
a competitive and locally accessible retail sector require to be assessed by the
Department of the Enviornment and Local Government and the Department of Enterprise,
Trade and Employment. The key concerns must be to retain the relatively spatially
balanced distribution of retailing that is currently in evidence in Ireland from both an
economic and social perspective, while ensuring that consumers and the country benefit
fully from full competition in the retail market. Future retail planning should be based on a
consistent and coherent national transport and land use policy plan.

6.5.3        Groceries Order

The Restrictive Practices (Grocery) Order, 1987 bans below cost selling, requires that
suppliers be paid on time and restricts the payment of ‘hello money’. The issue of the
payment of ‘hello-money’ is of increasing importance as the supply-chains of retailers
extend across borders and purchasing functions are increasingly centralised. A
harmonised regulatory approach across the EU in respect of the payment of ‘hello money’
would be of considerable benefit by increasing the transparency in the purchasing
practices of retailers in international markets. The development of a harmonised approach
on this issue should be actively promoted at EU level by Ireland.

The conclusions and recommendations of the Groceries Order review being undertaken
by the Competition and Mergers Review Group need to be quickly developed and
implemented so as to provide certainty to retailers and suppliers into the future. It needs
to focus in particular on the impact on competition in the retail sector of the ban on below
cost selling and social benefits of the order.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                               Page 1



1.0       OVERVIEW OF THE RETAIL SECTOR

1.1       Introduction

A consortium comprising KPMG, Fitzpatrick Associates, Economic Consultants and the
Centre for Retail Studies, University College, Dublin was retained by Forfás to study the
dynamics of the retail sector in Ireland and internationally. The objectives of the study were to:

•     Examine the role of the retail sector in Ireland and to determine how the comparative
      competitiveness and productivity of the Irish retail sector compares with that of other
      countries. The aim was to identify whether there are inefficiencies/barriers in the retail
      market to realising the full potential of the sector for employment and wealth creation
      and determine the policy implications;

•     Examine the trends, impact and implications of the structural change taking place
      in retailing and the implications of these changes for Irish retailers;

•     Examine the implications of these changes for suppliers of goods and services
      dependent on the retail sector as an outlet to consumer markets. The objective is to
      make proposals to assist Irish suppliers of goods and services prepare for, and
      respond to, the changes underway and to develop proposals for increasing the
      linkages between Irish suppliers and the retail sector;

•     Identify potential growth areas and ICT-based opportunities in the retail sector.

The study focused in particular on food and clothing, two of the major retailing sectors
in Ireland, which have seen significant international involvement in recent years.

The last 30 years have seen substantial changes in the retail sector, both in Ireland and
internationally. The retail base in Ireland was once made up of large numbers of small
shops offering specialised services, e.g., butchers, bakers, shoe shops and small general
stores offering ranges of dry goods and fresh foods. These were complemented by large
department stores offering a range of clothing and household items. High streets in cities
and towns contained an array of small shops and small, by comparison to today’s outlets,
general stores. Manufacturers had considerable market power. They distributed goods
through third party retail outlets, their own outlets or, particularly in the area of fresh foods,
through doorstep sales.

As the economy developed, consumers became more mobile, tastes changed, new
emphasis on prices emerged. The retail sector has responded to these changes. The key
change has been the growth of the major retailers, particularly in the food sector.

As the large food retailers grew, they widened the gap with the smaller, more traditional
retailer, which in turn led to further growth in the large retailer segment. Increased
concentration in Ireland mirrored that of other countries which led in turn to the
‘internationalisation’ of retailing and the emergence of retailers with operations in a
number of countries. This growth has produced a range of retailers which are larger than
many of their suppliers. Food retailers in particular have taken the role of ‘channel
captaincy’, where they have substantial power over the supply chain, and are driving much
of the change currently taking place.

Footwear and clothing retailing has also experienced increased concentration but not to
the same extent as in the food sector. In many European countries, the independent retail
Page 2                                       THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



segment has remained strong in the non-food sector by adapting to changing consumer
tastes and trends.

1.2       Study Approach and Methodology

The study involved substantial desk research on the European and US retailing markets.
The desk research material was supplemented by research data previously gathered by
the members of the consortium, both in Ireland and internationally. The desk research was
complemented by over forty structured interviews carried out in Ireland and the UK.

Interviews were held with representatives of:

•     the food and clothing retail sector in Ireland and the UK;
•     the wholesale sector;
•     the distribution sector in Ireland and the UK;
•     the cash and carry sector;
•     the manufacturing sector in Ireland and the UK; and
•     trade associations.

We wish to thank all who contributed to the study.

1.3       Definitions

Retailing is defined as the means by which goods and services are provided to consumers
in exchange for payment. Retailing thus excludes wholesaling and business-to-business
selling.

Retailing can be segmented into three distinct categories:
•     Predominantly Food Stores;
•     Predominantly Non-Food Stores; and
•     Non-Store Retailing.

The following is a description of the elements of these categories as used in the report.

Predominantly Food Stores

Hypermarkets
Hypermarkets are very large retail outlets, which are defined by the OECD as over 2,500
sq metres, but which are typically much bigger. For example, the average size of new
hypermarkets in Europe is typically 7,500 sq metres. Hypermarkets carry a wide range of
food and non-food items. Hypermarkets are sometimes referred to as Superstores, though
Superstores focus primarily on food. They are normally sited on the periphery of towns
and cities.

Supermarkets
In the main, supermarkets7 are 1,500 to 2,500 sq metres and are on the edge of towns or
town centre locations. Supermarkets contain much of the product ranges and customer
services of hypermarkets.




7 The OECD define supermarkets as stores ranging in size from 400 sq metres to 2,499 sq. metres.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 3



Symbol Groups
Symbol Groups are a group of outlets, that are generally independently owned, operating
under a symbol name and co-operating to gain purchase cost savings and, in some
instances, develop own-label products. Symbol groups are essentially managed or
grouped around a wholesaler.

Convenience Stores
Convenience Stores are small stores, such as forecourt shops and small supermarkets, with
a wide food and non-food product range. They are often part of a Symbol Group and
sometimes offer a range of own-brand products. These stores are characterised by
convenient town, city or suburban locations, generally have extended opening hours and are
used mainly for ‘top-up’ shopping.

Category Management
The practice of category management is increasingly used by large scale retailers and
involves developing a category or range of processes including product development,
consumer marketing, promotions to maximise the yield from that category.

Category Killers
Category killers exist where large retail outlets offer a specialised product range in
substantial depth but not in breadth.

Independent Stores
These include specialists such as greengrocers, bakers, fishshops, delicatessen as well
as large general grocery stores such as family owned Spar, Mace, Supervalue or Londis
stores, and are typically owner-managed.

Discounters
These are retail outlets that offer a range of goods while focusing on offering substantial
discounts over other retailers. Discounters are referred to as ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ depending on
the levels of discounts provided. Own-label products and dry goods often feature
significantly in these outlets.


Predominantly Non-Food Stores

Department Stores
Department stores are typically large city centre shops, generally multi-storey, offering a
range of clothing, footwear, personal care and household products. Areas within
department stores may be franchised to specialist operators and leading brands.

Boutiques
Boutiques are typically small, single outlets specialising in one manufacturer’s products,
or a specialist range of clothing and other merchandise.

Multiples
Non-food multiples are supermarket size outlets selling mainly clothing and footwear, but
occasionally other items e.g., sports goods. These shops tend to be at the lower end of
the clothing market in price terms, whereas department stores are in the middle to upper
price ranges.

Factory Outlets
These are outlets selling the products of a factory, typically branded goods such as clothing.
Page 4                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Non-Store Retailing

This sector traditionally includes mail order, door-to-door, vending machines and repairs
to products. However, the boundary between this sector and store retailing is becoming
blurred as store retailers develop into non-store selling via the Internet, telephone selling
and TV shopping.

1.4       Supply Chain

The supply chain is the sequence of companies or individuals involved in the process by
which raw materials are transformed into products and delivered to the retail outlets for
consumer markets. Historically, manufacturers delivered their products to individual stores
using their own transport, distribution agents or wholesalers, or some combination
of these. This results in numerous deliveries to shops by many suppliers which is
seen as ineffective and inefficient. Schematically, the traditional structure in Ireland is as
shown below:

         FIGURE 1.1:     Ireland’s Traditional Distribution Structure


            Supplier A                 Supplier B                    Supplier C



                                    Wholesaler/Agent            Importer/Distributor



            Store 1                      Store 2                       Store 3


In other countries, where appropriate to market conditions, RDCs (Regional Distribution
Centres) and Consolidation Centres have evolved to simplify the distribution system and
rationalise deliveries to stores. This aim is to maximise the use of full loads, and optimise
the efficiency of the distribution system.

The function of the RDC is to consolidate the products of various suppliers into deliveries for
individual stores and thereby minimise the deliveries to individual stores. To improve the
efficiencies of RDCs, consolidation centres are used to receive part loads from suppliers and
to consolidate supplies into full loads for delivery to RDCs, as shown in figure 1.2.

A key feature of the food retail sector in Ireland is the current emergence of a centralised
distribution structure amongst major retailers.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                            Page 5



        FIGURE 1.2:        Ireland’s Emerging Distribution Structure
                           SUPPLIERS



                                                                               SUPPLIERS
           PART
          LOADS




    CONSOLIDATION
       CENTRE




      FULLLOADS                                     RDC

                                                                    Full
                                                Full Load          Load     Full Load
                                                     Store     Store       Store
                                                       1         2           3

Efficient Consumer Response (ECR)
ECR is an approach to analysing the value chain from suppliers of raw materials through
to the consumer to identify opportunities for performance improvement. It is based on the
principle that consumer demand should ‘pull’products through the supply chain. The ECR
approach involves co-operation between all players in a supply chain on a range of
aspects including:

•     replenishment of stock;
•     new product introduction;
•     promotions; and
•     in-store layout and design.

Efficient Consumer Response practices are also emerging in Ireland at present.



2.0       INTERNATIONAL RETAIL SECTOR

2.1       Summary

2.1.1     Food Retailing

The retail models of particular interest to Ireland are those in Europe and the US due to
similarities in economic characteristics. In Europe, there are three main categories of food
retailing national models as follows:

•     The Nordic countries, which are relatively small retail markets in European terms, are
      characterised by a small number of powerful wholesalers and co-operatives, that
      dominate the retail segment, resulting in high levels of concentration and limited
      foreign presence.

•     The north mainland European markets, including the UK, which are relatively large
      food markets, are characterised by a number of large scale retailers, that are intensely
Page 6                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



    competitive and that have a highly developed range of shop formats. Concentration is
    at a medium level in these countries and foreign competition is strong.

•   The Mediterranean countries have varying market sizes and are characterised by
    large numbers of small retail outlets. Foreign competition is largely precluded by the
    regulatory environments in these countries, with the exception of Spain, where a more
    open policy has allowed substantial French involvement.

•   In the US, the larger shop formats dominate the food sector, with supermarkets
    accounting for over three quarters of national sales. The key difference with European
    markets is that to date in the US, regional rather than national chains are important,
    though there are strong recent indications that the retail sector is consolidating.
    The US is a major retail innovator, though most innovation in retailing reaches Ireland
    via Europe.

2.1.2    Non-Food Retailing

Non-food retailing is generally more fragmented than the food sector in Europe. There has
generally been a decline in the numbers of department stores, and a polarisation to a
structure with hypermarkets and large scale specialists on the one hand and a wide range
of small specialist stores on the other. International brand names and franchises are
widely evident in Europe.

In the US, many department stores have eliminated certain departments, and have
effectively become large speciality stores.

2.1.3    Drivers of Change

Key drivers of developments in retailing internationally include:

•   Low growth or stagnation in retail spending in developed economies, particularly in the
    food sector, leading to intense competition between retailers to grow sales and
    margins;

•   Increasing power of the retailers throughout the supply chain;

•   Changing consumer tastes demanding higher levels of service and convenience;

•   Changing consumer shopping practices;

•   An increasingly international outlook on the part of consumer;

•   Technological developments facilitating improved data collection and analysis of
    consumer buying behaviour, faster communication and improved customer services;

•   Developments of more focused marketing to consumers.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                Page 7



2.1.4     Key Developments

Four key trends in the retail sector in Europe and the US, as in Ireland, are:

•     A trend towards large sized units. Retail companies and retail outlets are growing in
      size, particularly in food retailing. Concentration, i.e., the market share of the largest
      retailers, continues to grow in most major European countries.

•     Diversification, particularly by food retailers into new product areas such as DIY,
      clothing and household products, into new geographic markets and into new
      businesses such as retail financial services. International expansion by retailers is
      particularly evident in mainland Europe.

•     Provision of improved services to customers such as the use of scanning at point-of-
      sale, the development of home shopping and the introduction of home deliveries.

•     Extension of retailer influence over the whole supply chain, where centralised
      distribution is now the standard, and where much new product development is retailer
      driven. Concepts such as Efficient Consumer Response (ECR), that ‘pulls’ production
      based on consumer demand, are now being introduced and are being used to
      eliminate costs from the supply chain.



2.2       Retail Structure and Structure Trends

2.2.1     The US Food Sector

Many of the major retailers in the US are providers of a mixed range of products which
generally, but not always, includes food, and which can include drug stores, household
goods and electronics, as shown in Table 2.1. Many new retail formats have developed in the
US. In general, the retail formats which the US initiates tend to enter Europe via the larger retail
markets such as France, the UK or Germany.

Food sales in the traditional US grocery stores have slowed in recent years due to
competition from new store formats such as discounters and supercentres, and also due
to increased use of fast food restaurants by the general public. However, food retailing
remains one of the largest retail sectors in the US.
Page 8                                THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



         TABLE 2.1:        Top 20 US Retailers

         The top 20 retail companies in the US
         by total (group) sales, 1998
                                                              $ Billion
         Wal-Mart                 Household goods and food       139.2
         Sears Roebuck           Household goods                    41.3
         K-Mart                  Household goods and food           33.7
         J C Penney              Department Stores                  31.8
         Dayton Hudson           Department Stores                  31.1
         Kroger                  Food                               28.2
         Home Depot              D-I-Y                              30.2
         Safeway                 Food                               24.5
         Costco                  Food Discount Club                 24.3
         American Stores          Food                              19.9
         Federated               Department Stores                  15.8
         Albertsons               Food                              16.0
         Walgreen                Drug Stores                        15.3
         Winn Dixie              Drug Stores                        13.6
         CVS                     Drug Stores                        15.3
         May                     Department Stores                  13.4
         Rite Aid                Drug Stores                        11.4
         Ahold US                Food                               11.2
         Publix                  Food                               12.1
         Toys ‘R’ Us             Toys                               11.2
         Source: Fortune 500, 1999



Within the grocery industry the larger stores dominate, with supermarkets accounting for
over three-quarters of sales. Table 2.2 indicates some of the general features and
performance of the supermarket industry in the US.

         TABLE 2.2:        Profile of US Supermarkets, 1998

         Total number of supermarkets                      30,700
         Average size (square feet)                        28,155
         Average number of checkouts                          8.9
         Average sales per supermarket ($)            11,259,000

         Source: Progressive Grocer Annual Report, 1998.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 9



What has been notable in US food retailing until recently was the importance of regional
rather than nationally-based chains. There are some nationally-based retail chains such
as Sears and Wal-Mart, which operate primarily in a range of sectors such as household
goods and electronics, but amongst predominately food retailers, the regional chains are
the more important. This is in part as a consequence of the Robinson Putman Act which
prohibits price discrimination by wholesalers/manufacturers between retailers. These
regional chains have proved to be attractive modes of entry for overseas multiples, such
as for example, Sainsbury’s purchase of Shaws, a New England supermarket chain.

The US grocery industry has historically been fragmented. Estimated to be worth $357
billion in mid-1998, the US grocery trade traditionally had no real dominant national player.
The Cincinnati based retailer Kroger, was the market leader in food retailing with 1998
revenues in excess of $28 billion, a market share of just over 7%. The traditional
supermarkets have come under attack from a variety of sources in recent years, notably
large scale discounters, warehouse clubs and non-food retailers. Wal-Mart, which has a
turnover of $139.2bn in 1998 has opened 441 supercentres in the US. In June 1999 Wal-
Mart acquired ASDA in the UK for £6.7bn, as part of its overseas expansion strategy.
Coupled with centralised buying and efficient distribution centres, Wal-Mart has
underpriced its traditional competitors, even though net profit margins have traditionally
been of the order of 2% in US supermarkets. Some analysts suggest that Wal-Mart
operates its grocery business on a break-even basis to attract customers to its traditional
non-food discount areas of electronics and home furnishings.

The response amongst traditional grocery retailers to the increasingly competitive market
in the US has been a succession of mergers and acquisitions in 1997 and 1998,
culminating in the proposed takeover of American Stores Company by Albertson’s Inc in
August 1998 for $11.7 billion. The size of the combined firms will exceed that of Kroger,
making it number one in the market place. The ultimate size will be determined after
consultation with regulatory authorities, as it is likely that the new business will have to
dispose of a number of its existing stores to prevent it having a monopoly in some areas.
The combined firms would have 2,970 grocery and drug stores in 37 states and an
estimated 215,000 employees.

The 1998 sales of the two companies combined, is estimated at $36 billion, which is
equivalent to a 10% market share. The merger of the companies is expected to generate
savings of $300 million annually or just under 1% of revenues.

Mergers and acquisitions of this scale may make it more difficult for overseas retailers to
enter the US market, though existing non-US retailers are also contributing to the trend.
Royal Ahold NV, the Dutch retailer, which already owns four chains on the US East Coast
bid to take over a fifth chain, the Giant Food Inc., which was previously co-owned by
Sainsbury.

An expected outcome of industry consolidation in the US is that national retailers will have
substantial leverage in negotiating with national manufacturers such as Kellogg Co. and
Kraft Foods. This will make them more competitive buyers and may ultimately lead to a
structure of a small number of large scale national grocery chains and a number of
regional chains. Such a development will be likely to provide the large national retailers
with substantial power over the supply chain, comparable to that of the major food retailers
in the UK and may lead to a diminution of the relative power of major branded product
manufacturers.
Page 10                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Regarding the issues and challenges currently facing the grocery trade, ECR (Efficient
Consumer Response) which was prominent a few years ago does not seem to have
brought the results which were hoped in the US. Some 50% of US food companies have
implemented ECR, at least in part and a further 33% expect to do so by 2000. Many
perceive that ECR has not brought about the qualitative changes in trade relations that
were hoped for. Furthermore, ECR has benefited the independent sector least.

The perceived potential direct benefits of ECR have failed to trickle down through the
supply chain as yet, the perception being that retailers have retained much of the benefits.

The current major concern of the grocery sector is that the percentage of disposable
income spent on food for home consumption has been declining in recent years. The
supermarket operators are continuing to lose volume to fast food and other restaurants.
Home Meal Replacement (HMR) is the major issue of concern to grocery operators who
are seeking to regain consumers’ spending by providing greater ranges of ready-to-cook
and ready-to-serve meals in a variety of ethnic formats. Despite efforts to develop HMR
services, the problem being encountered is that HMR from supermarkets is not popular
with consumers. However, the potential for growth in this sector is so large, and the
consequences of losing consumer spending are so great, that supermarket operators are
continuing to seek a solution and retain their customers.

2.2.2     The US Clothing Sector

The top five clothing chains in 1997 were Limited, TJX, Woolworth and Gap, who ranked
24th, 27th, 31st and 33rd respectively in the top 100 retailers in the US. The store formats
involved in clothing retailing in the US include department stores, discount department
stores, specialists, factory outlets and traditional clothing chains and independents.

Department stores in the US faced some serious problems in recent years and the
pressure is still evident. The problem often noted is that in the US the department store is
no longer a store where one can find everything. Many department stores in the US have
eliminated specific departments such as bridal, electrical appliances and even
restaurants, and instead of selling a full range of goods, are merely becoming large
speciality stores.

However, while the department stores in general have been losing market share for many
years, the larger ones have been performing quite well. Increasingly, it is the discount
department stores that have been taking market share from the conventional department
stores. Factory outlet centres in the US have been growing but they still have only a small
share of the overall non-food market. There is however a market for reduced price items,
as is seen by the success of the discount stores.

US clothing retailers have internationalised more than the food retailers. Woolworths was
one of the earliest international retailers and although absent in Ireland now, the name is
still familiar in Britain. TK Maxx, the clothing discounter, has also expanded into Britain,
and more recently, to Dublin.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 11



2.2.3    The European Retail Sector

While, the number of retail outlets in Europe overall has increased through the 1980s and
into the 1990s, within individual countries, there have been significant variations in the
development of total outlet numbers.

        TABLE 2.3:       European Retail Outlet Growth Sector, 1992-’97

             Country                                         % Change in
                                                            Outlet Numbers

             Portugal                                             +46.4
             Netherlands                                          +6.0
             Germany                                               -3.7
             Ireland                                              +2.5
             Belgium                                              +5.1
             Norway                                               +6.6
             Austria                                               -1.3
             Italy                                                -35.6
             Denmark                                              +0.6
             France                                                -1.8
             UK                                                   -19.9

        Source: European Market and Media Guide, 1999.

Key European markets are experiencing both increases and decreases in retail numbers.
The UK, Italy and Germany have witnessed significant reductions in outlet numbers while
in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, which are also regarded as mature
retail economies, there has been significant growth in numbers, arising from both the
expansion of ‘hard’ discounters and niche retailers. In the less well-developed retail
economies such as Portugal, retail numbers have grown rapidly, indicating a rapid
development in this sector.

Where declining retail numbers are in evidence, it is reported that there has tended to be
reductions of outlets in the food sector. This is the case for Denmark, France and the UK. In
many countries, non-food retail outlet numbers have increased. In Ireland, as will be
discussed later, food outlet numbers have fallen whereas other types of outlets have
increased.

The structure of retailing in Europe can be viewed on the basis of three geographic areas.
These are:

1. Nordic countries
2. North Mainland Europe, UK and Ireland, and
3. Mediterranean countries
Page 12                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



      TABLE 2.4:         Retail Sales in Europe, 1998.

                            Retail Sales            Population          Sales per
      Country                  billion               million             Capita
                                                                           ’000
      Group 1 Nordic Countries

      Denmark                     27.79                   5.25             5,249
      Norway                      24.06                   4.29             5,446
      Sweden                      39.69                   8.67             4,482
      Finland                     18.76                   5.04             3,641

      Group 2 North Mainland Europe, UK and Ireland

      Switzerland                 49.08                   7.06             6,913
      Germany                   317.21                  81.54              3,866
      France                    302.86                  58.27              5,178
      The Netherlands             62.30                 15.49              3,943
      United Kingdom            257.65                  58.70              4,366
      Belgium                     53.81                 10.14              5,278
      Ireland                     16.05                   3.58             4,332

      Group 3 Mediterranean Countries

      Italy                     329.14                  57.27              5,722
      Portugal                    23.93                   9.92             2,405
      Greece                      24.16                 10.47              2,279
      Spain                       88.16                 39.24              2,239

      Source: European Retail Handbook, Corporate Intelligence Group, 1999.

It can be seen that the retail market sizes of group 1, the four Nordic countries, are
relatively modest. Three of the four largest countries in retail market terms, Germany,
France and the UK, are in group 2, while the group 3 countries vary widely in size.

The value of retail sales per capita varies substantially throughout Europe, though some
regional trends are noticeable. The highest per capita sales are mainly in the largest
European economies, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, though Denmark and
Norway compare quite well with these.

The remaining Nordic countries, Sweden and Finland, together with Belgium, Holland, the
UK and Ireland form a second group, while the Mediterranean regions are in the lower
categories. Ireland lags behind other north mainland European countries in a number of
aspects of retailing, referred to later in this chapter, which indicates that as the retail
structure develops, per capita spending should increase also. The structures of retail in the
three areas differ substantially and differ from sector to sector.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                            Page 13



2.2.4     The European Food Retailing Sector

In the food sector there is a very high level of concentration, over 70%, in the Nordic
countries, a medium level of 40-50% in north mainland Europe, the UK and Ireland, and
a low level of less than 20% in the Mediterranean region, as shown in table 2.5.

        TABLE 2.5:        Food Retailing Concentration, 1998

        Country                                          Market Share of Top 3
                                                          Food Retailers 1998

        Group 1 Nordic Countries
        Sweden                                                      91%
        Norway                                                      86%
        Finland                                                     80%
        Denmark                                                     69%

        Group 2 North Mainland Europe, UK and Ireland
        Belgium                                                     58%
        The Netherlands                                             47%
        Germany                                                     43%
        UK                                                          53%
        Ireland                                                     55%
        France                                                      52%

        Group 3 Mediterranean Countries
        Spain                                                       20%
        Greece                                                      17%
        Italy                                                       11%
        Source: A C Nielsen and European Retail Handbook, 1999

•   Nordic Countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark)

    The Nordic retail structures are dominated by powerful wholesalers and consumer
    owned co-operatives which have established very efficient nation-wide supply chain
    operations. This effectively precludes the entry of large scale operators from other
    countries.

    The populations of these countries are small (Sweden is the largest with 9m) and
    population densities are quite low. In effect, small retailers have little option but to join
    one of the large national wholesalers to take advantage of the buying power and
    distribution structures that exist, which increases concentration further. The relatively
    small sizes of these markets, combined with the highly integrated retail-supply chain
    structures makes this region relatively difficult for overseas entrants.
Page 14                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



•   North Mainland Europe, UK and Ireland

    In this geographic area, concentration in the food sector is growing as shown in table
    2.5, though it is somewhat below Nordic levels. The markets in these countries are
    substantial and are capable of supporting a number of large retail organisations.

    For the most part, these food retail markets reached maturity some time ago and
    competition between retailers is intense. Competition is reducing price levels in food
    retailing in Germany by about 1% per annum at present. Hard discounters are
    increasing their market shares.

    Major retailers are expanding to other countries in search of increased revenues and
    profitability. Tengelman the leading German retailer is active in 11 countries and some
    50% of its sales are derived outside Germany. Carrefour the leading French retailer is
    active in 15 countries and derives some 38% of its sales outside France.

    The development of own-label products has been particularly noticeable in Belgium,
    France and the UK. It is estimated that up to 50% of UK retail sales are now own-label.
    Some own-label sales are increasing operating margins substantially as will be discussed
    later. The market share of the top three in Ireland (Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Musgraves)
    would be higher if the symbol group outlets supplied by Musgraves were included.

    From a political perspective, much concern has been expressed amongst consumer
    groups and legislators in the north mainland European countries, particularly France
    and Germany, on the levels of concentration and increases therein. There has been
    much discussion in these countries on the need for increased regulatory powers to
    limit concentration and on the need to restrict further retail space development,
    particularly in out-of-town locations. The concern is that high levels of concentration
    will reduce the level of competition. Proposals to stimulate city centre shopping by
    extending opening hours are also under discussion.

•   Mediterranean Countries

    In Mediterranean countries, developments in the retail sector have been limited both
    by the relatively slow pace of economic development and by local regulations, mainly
    proposed by independent retailers.

    Spain’s economy has developed rapidly in recent years and this has facilitated both
    development of the retail sector and the entry of foreign retailers. The effect has been
    that French companies now dominate Spanish food retailing, and there are concerns
    within Italy, Portugal and Greece that liberalisation of existing regulatory controls
    would bring about similar foreign retailer domination and impact on the industries that
    supply them.

2.2.5     European Non-Food Retailing

•   Nordic Countries

    In the non-food Nordic retailing sectors, developments in recent years have seen the
    department stores losing out to speciality stores in the middle to up market segments
    and to the hypermarkets in the lower price segments. Some department stores
    changed to variety stores offering narrower product ranges.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 15



      International retailers are evident in Nordic countries, including major fashion names
      and franchises such as the Body Shop and, in Denmark, there are some German
      retailers.

•     North Mainland European Countries

      In this region, non-food retailing has seen a decline in the relative importance of the
      department store and a move towards hypermarkets and large scale specialist stores
      such as those focused on segments like DIY, household, or product specialists e.g.,
      Toys ‘R’ Us. This trend is augmented by the growing impact of international firms in
      specialist areas, e.g., C&A in clothing and IKEA in furniture.

•     Mediterranean Countries

      In the Mediterranean countries, non-food retailing is characterised by a very large
      number of small retailers. Traditionally department stores have not been significant in
      these countries. This is due largely to consumer preferences for small independent
      stores. However, there are increasing signs of price consciousness in Italy, which may
      facilitate the development of chains with stronger purchasing power or joint ventures
      between national and overseas retailers.

2.2.6     Non-Store Retailing

Non-store retailing was up to recently regarded as a relatively mature retail segment,
however, the recent development of the Internet is now regarded as providing significant
potential for non-store retailing. There are as yet no clear indications of that potential
emerging, but industry sources are confident of substantial progress in non-store retailing
over the next two years or so. This is evidenced in Littlewoods announcement in the UK
of its plans to divest its chain of 135 stores and focus on the Mail Order business. The Mail
Order sector has seen new entrants recently from the traditional retail sector, e.g. Marks
& Spencer and the Burton purchase of the Racing Green home shopping company.
Companies within the sector have expanded, e.g. Brown has grown through direct
customer targeting and with catalogues, aimed at the young fashion-conscious segment.
On the other hand, Sears encountered much difficulty in seeking to sell its Freemans
catalogue business and in 1997, GUS, the UK market leader, announced its first profit
decline in 48 years. Profits declined further in 1998, falling from £161.3m in 1997 to
£155.7m.

Industry sources suggest that the key to success in Mail Order may be to abandon the
traditional big book catalogue and focus on improving direct customer marketing and
developing a range of speciality catalogues.

2.3       Developments in the Retail Sector Internationally

Internationally, the retail sector has been developing in a number of ways simultaneously,
as shown in figure 2.1. Overall, there is increasing diversification in retail structures and
markets, new formats are emerging, service is improving and critically, retailers are
extending influence over supply chains.
Page 16                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



FIGURE 2.1:         Strategic Directions in the Retail Sector

                                        Structure Format




    Improved Service                        Retailers                         Diversification




                                    Supply Chain Dominance

The developments that are occurring are responses to a number of drivers, including:

•     Low growth in retail spending by consumers, particularly in the food sector, which is
      leading to greater efforts on the part of retailers to generate more revenues and better
      margins. This is a driver impacting on all of the strategic directions shown above;

•     More concern on the part of the consumer for value for money, facilitating
      diversification by retailers into own brand products and discounted ranges;

•     Increasing purchasing power of the retailer leading to dominance over the supply
      chain;

•     Changing consumer tastes leading to specialisation in some outlets and more
      acceptance of international retailers;

•     Changing lifestyles which demand improved service levels, more convenient store
      locations and moves to electronic retailing;

•     Consumer shopping and food preparation habits are changing, with a focus on
      spending less time on shopping and on home meal preparation and move to
      convenience food purchases;

•     Increased consumer mobility which is driving the development of more out-of-town
      shopping centres and more retail parks;

•     Technological advances are driving efficiency gains and the use of IT is enabling new
      developments in service and marketing;

•     Improving customer knowledge is providing better target marketing;

•     Regulation that is limiting retail developments and practices is increasing.

The key underlying driver is the desire of retailers to continue to achieve strong growth in
sales and operating margins in periods of low inflation, low growth market conditions and
changing consumer lifestyles. This has resulted in the four dimensions of development
that are examined below.
 THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 17



 2.3.1   Structure Formats: The Drive to Size and Specialisation


 FIGURE 2.2: Drive to Size
                                      Structure Format




Improved Service                          Retailers                          Diversification




                                 Supply Chain Dominance




 Taking Europe as a whole, the key trends in the retail sector are

 •   retail companies becoming bigger;

 •   market shares of big retailers increasing; and

 •   individual store sizes increasing;

 particularly in the food sector, though the trend is also evident in the clothing sector.

 Table 2.6 shows the top 20 retailers in Europe, all of which are food or predominantly food
 retailers. The exceptions are Karstadt and Marks & Spencer.
Page 18                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



      TABLE 2.6:         Top 20 European Retailers

      The top 20 retail companies in Europe by total (group) sales, 1998

                                                                           Bn
      Metro                          Germany/Switzerland                46.55
      Intermarché                    France                             34.50
      Rewe                           Germany                            32.32
      Promodes                       France                             32.31
      Edeka/AVA                      Germany                            30.29
      Tesco                          United Kingdom                     27.45
      Carrefour                      France                             27.41
      Tengelmann                     Germany                            27.07
      Ahold                          Netherlands                        26.48
      Aldi                           Germany                            23.72
      Auchan                         France                             22.56
      Leclerc                        France                             21.18
      J Sainsbury                    United Kingdom                     21.03
      Casino                         France                             14.15
      Karstadt-Neckermann            Germany                            13.54
      Delhaize Le Lion               Belgium                            12.80
      Lidi & Schwartz                Germany                            12.50
      Marks and Spencer              United Kingdom                     12.17
      ASDA                           United Kingdom                      11.05
      Kingerfisher                   United Kingdom                      11.04
      Safeway                        United kingdom                     10.12

      Source: European Retail Handbook. Corporate Intelligence Group, 1999.

The trend to larger size and to seek increased turnover has led to mergers and
acquisitions in Europe, much as in the US as described previously. However, no major
pan-European retailers have emerged as yet. The experience of the US suggests that
there is potential for such pan-European entities to emerge, given the greater harmony of
EU regulations and the introduction of the single currency. There are issues for potential
pan-European retailers such as language differences that may limit the potential for pan-
European chains to develop.

In the interim, mergers and acquisitions are occurring throughout Europe such as the
planned takeover of the Austrian supermarket chain Julius Meinl AG by the German
company Rewe. Rewe bought Billa, another Austrian food retailer in 1996, and the
takeover of Meinl would give Rewe a 40% share of the Austrian food market. At the time
of drafting the Austrian government has asked the EU to refer the takeover to Austria’s
own anti-trust authorities. In Italy, Rinascente acquired Colmark Spa, a regional
supermarket chain in mid-1998. In Norway, Statoil entered an agreement with two food
retailers to operate the shops, fast food and car services at its 1,500 filling stations, while
Somerfield in the UK announced it was in merger talks with the UK food distributor,
Booker, following on from Somerfield’s acquisition of Kwiksave.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                      Page 19



The increases in individual company size coupled with low growth markets, have
produced more concentrated markets in food retailing, which the recent merger and
acquisition activity would have increased still further, as shown by the following data.

      TABLE 2.7:        Food Retail Concentration Trends

                                                      1992           1995
      •   Germany
          Market share of top 5 food retailers        52%             59%

                                                      1980           1995
      •   France - Market Shares
          Large retailers                             45%             65%
          Small/medium retailers                      41%             23%
          Others                                      14%             12%

                                                      1981           1995
      •   UK
          Multiples market share                      59%             82%


          Source: Market Sources, compiled by KPMG

Although the data shown above come from a range of sources and cover different time
periods, they nonetheless show a trend towards increased concentration in all countries.
These increases in concentration are facilitated by the numbers of large stores in various
countries. Table 2.8, reproduced for the most part from the OECD, defines supermarkets
as between 400 and 2,499 sq metres and hypermarkets as 2,500 sq metres and over.
Page 20                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



         TABLE 2.8:      Supermarket/Hypermarket Numbers in Europe

Country         Number      Super-    Share    Number of Hyper-                  Share of
               of Super-    markets    food     Hyper-   market                    food
               markets        per    retailing  markets  Density                 retailing
                            100,000 in Super-              per                  in Hyper-
                            people markets %             100,000                markets %
                                                         people


Germany         9,831         12.1         32           1,100        1.4            28
France          7,306         12.6         27           1,074        1.9            42
Italy           4,253           7.4        19            182         0.3             5
UK              7,267         12.9         31            733         1.3            24
Austria         1,764         22.0         47              83        1.0            13
Belgium         2,003         19.8         58              98        1.0            18
Denmark           900         17.3        n.a.             18        0.3             0
Finland         1,047         20.6         47              75        1.5            13
Greece          1,521         14.6         67              21        0.2             0
Ireland           550         15.4        n.a.              5        0.1             0
Luxemb.           n.a.        13.5        n.a.              5        0.6           n.a.
Nether.           n.a.        13.8         54              40        0.3             4
Norway          1,343         31.0         63              30        0.7           n.a.
Portugal          613           6.2        25              31        0.3            40
Spain           7,478         19.1         44             221        0.6            32
Sweden          2,063         23.5         59              74        0.8             8
Switz.            548           7.8       n.a.             55        0.8           n.a.

Source: Paper on the Distribution Sector, OECD, 1997; KPMG

Care should be taken in seeking to draw significant conclusions from this data because in
many countries, retail developments are subject to national or local regulations for
planning, which are binding in varying degrees to the development of large-scale retailing
outlets. These rules, and not market forces, have played a considerable part in
determining the patterns of retail sector structure. Furthermore, the data refers to the
numbers of units, not the total shop floor areas and, while two countries may have a
similar number of outlets in unit terms, they may differ substantially in retail space terms
and it is likely that there has been further expansion in a number of countries, including
Ireland.

It is evident from the table that the greatest number of shops are in the countries with the
highest levels of retail sales, i.e., Germany, France, Italy and the UK. These countries also
have the major share of hypermarkets. However, while Germany, France and the UK have
c.14 large retail outlets per 100,000 population, Italy has a ratio of just 7.7, which can be
attributed to Italian regulations inhibiting such developments.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                             Page 21



Some medium sized markets, e.g., Austria, Belgium and Finland, have just over 20 large
outlets per 100,000 people, while Portugal and Switzerland, at 6.5 and 8.6 outlets per
100,000 people respectively, are similar to Italy.

Ireland’s retail market is much smaller than many other European countries, and Ireland
has a lower population density than many other regions in Europe. Given these factors,
Ireland’s large outlet number of 553 overall, or 15.6 per 100,000 people appears to
compare quite well with other countries. However, the data indicates that there is scope
for the development of hypermarket size outlets in this country. Comparisons with
countries such as Denmark and Portugal indicate that Ireland could support of the order
of 11 hypermarkets. Comparisons with other countries would show much higher numbers
but these would relate to larger economies, larger retail markets and countries with greater
population densities.

The trend to larger sized outlets is demonstrated in table 2.9, in which superstores and
hypermarkets are defined as units of 2,500 sq. meters and over.

       TABLE 2.9:         Superstore and Hypermarket Numbers in Europe,
                          1981-1993

       Country                 1981            1989             1993        Change ’81-’93
       Germany                  821              982            1185              +44%
       France                   433              743             945             +118%
       Italy                      12              45             165            +1275%
       UK                       279              578             861             +209%
       Belgium                    79              98               98             +24%
       Denmark                    13              13               14             +8%
       Ireland                     3                4               5             +67%
       Netherlands                 4              16               40            +900%
       Spain                      31              86             157             +406%

       Source: KPMG

The data in this table is provided from different sources than the data in table 2.8 and
refers to different years. While specific figures differ, the overall scale is consistent with the
previous table.

The rates of growth vary substantially. Germany, Belgium and Denmark, for example,
appear to be exhibiting significant levels of market maturity, though they continue to
achieve growth. France and the UK show substantial growth. Italy and Spain show much
greater growth rates but they started from a low base, and while Spain’s growth is
attributed to a more open economic environment, Italy’s growth is in spite of constraining
regulations. The data indicates that despite its relatively low market size, Ireland’s growth
in large outlets has lagged behind its European counterparts. Although the percentage
growth is higher than, say Germany, the actual number is minuscule in comparison.

Shop number and floor space data for individual countries is difficult to source and, in
some cases, it can be relatively old. For example, data on floorspace in Ireland is
available in the 1988 Census of Services, which shows the average size of retail units
vary from 1,117 square feet in Dublin to 717 square feet in Connaught/Ulster and the gap
Page 22                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



can be expected to have widened significantly since. Data available from the UK shows
the growth to larger size units.

      TABLE 2.10:        UK Grocery Stores by Size, 1992-1996

                                                 1992          1994        1996
      Hypermarkets (7,500-15,000 sq.m.)              7             7           6
      Hypermarkets (2,500-7,500 sq.m.)            689           779          866
      Supermarkets (1,000-2,500 sq.m.)          1,187         1,234        1,235
      Supermarkets (400-1,000 sq.m.)            1,632         2,124        2,030
      Small Supermarkets (100-400 sq.m.)        7,151         7,699        7,885
      Traditional Grocers (<100 sq.m.)         29,054        27,675      27,161
      Total Grocery                            39,720        39,518      39,183
      Source: AC Nielsen Data

While the data in table 2.10 does not show the average floorspace for grocery outlets, it
illustrates that the number in each category of size is growing, with the exception of the
smallest (<100 sq. m) and largest, (7,500-15,000 sq. m). It also shows the continued
decline in total grocery numbers.

The trend to larger size in the retail sector as a whole, is also a factor in the emergence
of what is known as ‘category killers’. These are retail outlets, usually very large, which
offer a specialised product range in great depth but not in breadth, and which offer
branded goods at low prices. Examples include Toys ‘R’Us, a US firm specialising in toys,
and IKEA, a furniture specialist from Sweden. The description ‘category killers’ comes
from the inability of other retailers to differentiate their offering from the specialists and
also their inability to provide a competing depth of product range. It is the combination of
low price and substantial choice that draws customers away from the non-specialist shop,
effectively killing that category for the non-specialist retailer.

While the overriding trend in both food and clothing retailing is towards larger sizes, it
should not be inferred that speciality shops will not be successful in the future retail
environment. The emergence of forecourt retailing and local convenience stores owes
much to a consumer demand for convenience and ‘top-up’ shopping. These stores meet
those needs with stores in convenient locations and extended opening hours. Other
specialist retailers such as sandwich bars offer convenience, service and differentiated
products and succeed in their respective niches. The continued success of boutiques and
specialist clothes shops, based on high service levels is also likely to be ensured in any
new retail environment.

The growth of multiples has had a substantial effect on smaller retailers. In Britain, the
symbol groups and independent grocers have diminished substantially, while the impact
of the multiples on non-store retailing, such as door-to-door milk deliveries, has also been
substantial. In the UK, the decline in sales of doorstep milk has been as high as 15% per
annum in recent years and was 7% in 1997.

The amalgamation of specialist retailers is one method being used to maintain
competitiveness with the multiples. Examples include the planned merger between
off-licences Victoria Wines and Threshers, owned by Allied Domecq and Whitbread
  THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 23



  respectively, in the UK. The merged entity will have a relevant market share of 14%,
  marginally lower than Tesco and ahead of Sainsbury’s at 12%. The merged company is
  expected to generate £15 million of annual savings which will boost the current combined
  profitability of £25 million substantially and should give the off-licences bargaining power
  close to that of the multiples. However, price competition is not expected to be part of the
  off-licence’s strategy as the multiples have the power to cut drink prices and recoup the
  losses in other product areas.

  Experience from other EU countries indicates that to be successful, supermarkets will
  need to provide a specialist retail offering which is tailored to the needs of its customers.
  Many are ensuring that the store on offer suits the needs, size and preferences of local
  consumers. One example is where Tesco has added three formats to its traditional offering
  in the UK to suit locations where one of their conventional stores would perhaps not have
  succeeded so well. The formats are:

  1. Tesco Metro – ‘top-up’ shops in town centre sites, in sizes ranging from 3,700 to
     19,000 sq. ft. Equivalent to small to medium size supermarkets in Ireland;

  2. Compact Stores – 16,000 to 26,500 square feet. In edge of town locations or in market
     towns. These are comparable to many of the largest supermarkets currently in Ireland.
     They contain the product range and some of the customer services of the superstore;
     and

  3. Tesco Express – stand-alone petrol station and convenience store with wider than
     usual products including own brands.

  This trend in the development of other, often smaller formats is evident elsewhere.
  J. Sainsbury has developed a forecourt format store, while in Belgium, the GIB Group has
  recently introduced the ‘Contact GIB’store which ranges between 4,000 and 6,500 square
  feet and carries 6,000 to 8,000 lines, much of them in fresh food and produce. GIB plans
  to open 35 such stores by the end of 1999.

  A Tesco superstore would typically carry 26,500 lines while a Tesco Express would carry
  just over 2,000 lines. The proliferation of shop formats by multiples has significant
  implications for others, particularly the independent sector.

  2.3.2   Diversification in Retailing


  FIGURE 2.3: Diversification
                                    Structure Format




Improved Service                        Retailers                         Diversification




                                Supply Chain Dominance
Page 24                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Slow growth in retail sales and the continuing search for new sources of revenue and
profitability have driven many retailers into diversification strategies, the second key trend
evident in the retail sector internationally. Three types of diversification are apparent.

•   Product Diversification
•   New Business and
•   New Markets

•   Product Diversification

A trend visible in the food sector has been diversification of food retailers into non-food
goods. The majority of large food shops (excluding specialist butchers and greengrocers
etc.) and in particular the supermarkets, sell a large range of non-food goods
encompassing DIY, household, personal care, garden and entertainment sectors.

The fact that margins are higher on these goods than on food items is the main driver
behind this move. In addition, the supermarkets are tending towards becoming one-stop
shops and increases in product ranges aid this trend. Recent product diversification
moves of note by food retailers in Ireland and the UK include leading brand name clothing
and music CDs.

•   New Business

A strategy adopted by some retailers has been to diversify into other sectors of retailing.
Sainsburys of the UK acquired Texas Homecare to develop its Homebase operation.
Ahold of Holland and La Rinascente of Italy have also developed into the DIY sector.

Some retailers are developing into the financial services sector. Tesco had an alliance with
Nat West Bank and has now joined with the Royal Bank of Scotland to develop a range
of financial services including credit cards and life assurance. Safeway has joined with
Abbey National to provide an interest bearing account for Safeways’ ABC Bonus Card
holders, which now number over 5 million. Sainsbury has joined with the Bank of Scotland
to provide debit card and telephone banking services. The nature of such alliances is to
expand retail banking into existing retail outlets and hence provide potentially significant
growth opportunities for retailers operating in mature markets. Superquinn and TSB in
Ireland have also formed a joint venture TUSA to provide financial services in Autumn 1999.

There are strong indications that retailers are making a significant impact in the retail
financial sector. The Halifax Building Society has announced plans to open its branches
on Sundays, apparently to compete with the multiples for savings.

While data from the UK indicates that there is substantial growth in the financial services
activities of retailers, in the US there is a debate as to whether such activities will have an
impact on traditional bank branches. In a report issued in August 1998, by the Mentis
Corporation and MarkeTech Systems in the US, it was concluded that the consumer’s
response to bank branches inside supermarkets was ‘lacklustre’. In the US, the general
practice has been for banks to establish branches within supermarkets and it was found
that the average set-up cost of such branches is about one-third that of traditional
branches. It was also found that supermarket branches’ operating costs are about 60% of
those of traditional branches. However, the study found that the supermarket branches
generate less deposits that traditional branches. Supermarket branches of between three
and five years old reported deposits of $5 million while traditional branches of the same
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 25



age had deposits of $9 million. Supermarket branches of ten years and over had deposits
of $16 million, half that of the other traditional branches. The report concluded that
supermarket branches’ performance was disappointing. The reasons given were that
staffing for extended hours dissipated the operating costs savings and that loans and
banking products are not ‘impulse’ purchases and the high volume of supermarket traffic
does not easily translate into more revenue.

The findings of the Mentis/MarkeTech report are contested by promoters of supermarket
banking who say that one-third of banks operating supermarket branches see monthly
profits being generated within the first year. It accepts that supermarket branch
performance can vary substantially depending on the strategy used.

There is strong likelihood that established retailer loyalty cards will be developed into
smart cards, which, coupled with the offering of other retail financial services, could
provide retailers with a very substantial stake in the financial services sector. Smart cards,
which are equipped with a chip rather than a magnetic stripe, offer a much wider range of
functions, e.g., the electronic purse, a reloadable electronic cash facility operating from
special terminals. Smart cards can offer off-line payments at cash registers, saving
communications costs. A number of Smart Card systems have been operating in test
scenarios in countries such as the UK (Mondex), Belgium (Proton-Card), Germany
(Geldkarte), Portugal, Switzerland and Holland.

•   New Markets: Internationalisation

A further strategy of diversification has been to enter other country markets. Retailers who
have internationalised have tended to open stores in a limited number of countries. The
home bases of these retailers tend to be mature retail markets such as Germany, France
and the UK, and only a small number of the larger chains within these countries have
internationalised.

The most common first step in internationalisation has been ‘border hopping’, that is
moving to an adjacent country in the belief that this will be the country with greatest
similarities. Common forms of internationalisation have included cross border alliances,
mergers and take-overs. Table 2.11 shows the numbers of retailers who had operations
abroad in 1991, firstly by country of origin and secondly by country of destination. For
example, 44 German retailer companies had operations in other countries, while 112 non-
German retailers have stores in operation in Germany.
Page 26                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



      TABLE 2.11:       Internationalisation in the European Retail Sector

      Country                       National retailers       Foreign retailers
                                    operating in other      operating in named
                                     countries 1991            country 1991
      Germany                               44                        112
      France                                95                        113
      Italy                                 14                         66
      UK                                    71                        142
      Belgium                               10                        128
      Denmark                                9                         35
      Greece                                 0                         32
      Ireland                                9                         50
      Netherlands                           18                         99
      Norway                                18                         99
      Portugal                               3                         43
      Spain                                  8                        125

      Source: Paper on the Distribution Sector, OECD, 1997

Internationalisation is undoubtedly a major trend affecting both the food and clothing
sectors at present. However, what is perhaps more surprising is that the process is not as
developed as might be perceived. Few retailers, particularly in food, extend across the
whole of Europe and there seems to be a considerable amount of caution involved with
any moves. It may be that European retailers may follow the US model in the food sector.
In the US, food retailers tended to be composed of strong regional rather than national
chains until recently, and the formation of large national chains has just become evident.
It may be that in time, pan-European retailers may emerge through takeovers or mergers
between regional chains.

The trend towards the internationalisation of major retailers is evident throughout Europe
in the clothing sector. Stores which are perceived as brands in themselves such as
Benetton and the Body Shop, are truly international retailers.

One outcome of the internationalisation of retailers is the high degree of ‘sameness’ which
dominates high streets throughout Europe. Fashion retailers such as Benetton and Laura
Ashley are known to shoppers all over Europe and the suggestion is that the
internationalisation of retailing has undermined high street individuality.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 27



2.3.3    Improved Services

        FIGURE 2.4:      Improved Service


                                       Structure Format




Improved Service                          Retailers                         Diversification




                                  Supply Chain Dominance

The third key trend evident internationally is that retailers are developing a wide range of
improved services aimed at attracting and, perhaps more importantly, retaining customer
loyalty. Examples of these improvements in service include:

•   Adoption of Point of Sale scanning
•   Loyalty cards
•   Home shopping and
•   Revised opening hours

•   Point of Sale Scanning

    The use of scanning in Europe’s retailers has been growing in recent years, though
    survey data indicates that further scope remains for it to develop.

    The advantages of scanning and the key drivers of its expansion are:

    •    faster, more accurate till operations
    •    more convenient for customers
    •    more efficient collection of sales data and
    •    provides a basis for EDI and ECR.
Page 28                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



   TABLE 2.12:         Market Share of Food Shops Utilising Scanning - 1995


                                                            Marketshare
                                                        of Shops Scanning

      Finland                                                   85%
      Sweden                                                    75%
      Belgium                                                   70%
      UK                                                        70%
      Denmark                                                   66%
      France                                                    60%
      Netherlands                                               53%
      Norway                                                    51%
      Spain                                                     48%
      Portugal                                                  46%
      Austria                                                   41%
      Italy                                                     41%
      Germany                                                   31%
      Ireland                                                   30% (c.60% 1999)
      Switzerland                                                6%
      Greece                                                     1%

      Source - Euro Handels Institut, Köln, 1995

The relative use of scanning in Ireland is now significantly higher as a result of
implementation of scanning technologies by major retailers such as Dunnes Stores,
Symbol Groups and Independents over the period 1996-1998, and could be up to 60% by
end 1999.

It is evident from this table that in general scanning is more in use in the Northern
European countries than in the Mediterranean countries. However, there are notable
exceptions to this statement, particularly Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In the case of Germany, the food market is not growing, the influence of discounters is
increasing and, in real terms, food prices have been falling. Historically, profit margins in
mainland European supermarket groups have been low relative to Ireland and the UK,
(typically 3% in the former compared to 5% to 8% in the latter). The issue of affordability
of scanning technologies may be of primary importance to some retailers.

Austria and Switzerland, on the other hand, have high levels of concentration (56% and
75% respectively) but, until recently, have not been subject to international competition to
a significant extent. In Austria, a direct consequence of integration with the EU has been
a substantial reduction in food prices, e.g., 9% to 15% reductions in dairy products. New
foreign competitors are emerging in Austria and it is likely that increased competition will
promote the use of scanning and promote further developments in IT use. In Switzerland,
there is substantial concentration, based on an efficient distribution structure, and a lack
of foreign competition within the country. Swiss food prices are high relative to
neighbouring countries that are in the EU and there are estimates that cross border
shopping accounts for 7% of Swiss food turnover. It is likely that scanning will develop in
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 29



Switzerland also to facilitate a more efficient supply chain.

•       Loyalty Cards

    The development of scanning systems is now being linked more closely with loyalty
    cards. In the UK, two retailers, Safeway and Sainsbury are developing systems
    whereby their 13 million loyalty card holders will have access to self-scanning
    services. Early reviews indicate that there may be significant benefits for the retailer
    from such systems. The traditional loyalty card scheme provided customers with a gift
    voucher once they had reached a certain spending threshold, e.g., a £2.50 voucher
    for every £250 spent. This arrangement could represent a sizeable element of the
    retailers profits and was not regarded as significant by some customers.

    The new systems however, mean that possession of a loyalty card provides access to
    self scanning, which is potentially a major source of convenience and added value to
    the customer, and may be valued more highly than the discount arrangement. For the
    retailer there is a greater incentive for the customer to use the loyalty card, which in
    turn adds to the retailers database of customer information.

    It is interesting to note that while European retailers are developing self-scanning
    systems where the customers carry the scanners with them and scan the items as
    they pick them off the shelves. In the US, Kroger, the largest grocery retailer, has
    developed an express-lane checkout system, whereby the customer scans his/her
    purchases at the checkout facility. The European system has a particular advantage
    in that it can prompt or provide special offers to the customer while he/she is shopping.

    While scanning systems can provide much sales data, the real value of loyalty card
    schemes is to allow the retailer to relate purchases to customer buying behaviour,
    to demographics, lifestyle and geographic profiles. This allows for better marketing
    by retailers.

    There is no published data on the impact of loyalty card schemes on consumer
    shopping patterns, but individual retailers claim that such schemes provide a
    significant impact on customer loyalty, which is becoming a key measure for retailer
    performance.

    There is now an estimated 55 million loyalty cards in the UK - Mintel estimates that
    74% of shoppers have such cards. Many shoppers hold more than one card, for
    example, Mintel estimates that 35% of Sainsbury Reward Card holders also have
    Tesco Clubcards. However, there is no evidence to suggest that stores which do not
    offer cards as yet are losing out. It is expected that this will change as retailers amass
    customer data and develop more targeted promotions. Preferred loyalty card benefits
    in the UK are as follows:
Page 30                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



        TABLE 2.13:        Preferred Loyalty Card Benefits UK, 1997

        Discounts at check outs                                  62%
        Spending vouchers for store                              47%
        Petrol discounts                                         36%
        Spending vouchers for other stores                       25%
        Donations to charity                                     23%
        Travel promotions                                        21%
        Leisure attractions                                      19%
        Source: Mintel, 1998.

    It is estimated that about 55% of food shoppers in Ireland have a loyalty card from at
    least one of the multiples. Dunnes Stores and Tesco in Ireland, both claim to have
    issued about 600,000 cards. There appears to be a high level of possession of more
    than one card amongst shoppers. Loyalty cards are perceived as relatively recent
    introductions to Ireland, though Superquinn’s is long established and has been used
    as a model for similar schemes in other countries. Superquinn is widely recognised as
    one of the key developers of the loyalty card internationally. Within the retail and
    supplier segments, there is much speculation as to the future direction of the
    schemes, particularly the nature and scope of point earning potential and consumer
    rewards.

    Loyalty schemes are also being developed in non-food outlets. In some cases these
    are being developed on existing store charge cards or affinity cards. Their
    development is not yet as advanced as card schemes in food retailers.

•   Home Shopping

    Home shopping is of two types:
    – non-interactive, comprising teleshopping or catalogues on CD-Rom; and
    – interactive shopping which comprises the Internet, Minitel and other
       on-line services.

    It is estimated that as of mid-1998, that 90,000 US households carry out grocery
    shopping on the Internet and spend the equivalent of $1 billion annually (equal to £152
    per week). EMarketer, a leading US specialist on business online, projects that by
    2002, online grocery sales will be $33.6 billion, or just under 10% of total 1998 US
    grocery sales. It also projects that online shopping households will increase to 6.9
    million by 2002 and that penetration may reach 20% of families in the US by 2007.
    While appearing to be impressive, the growth rate in online grocery shopping may be
    surpassed by a number of other retail products, including music, software and films. It
    is believed that online grocery shopping will encounter relatively slow growth for three
    reasons:

    –     there is a need to change entrenched consumer shopping patterns;
    –     there is a need to provide detailed information on products, including ingredients,
          nutritional information etc.; and
    –     the logistics problems associated with delivery.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 31



      Peapod Inc. is a fast growing company which entered the grocery business in 1989
      with a telephone ordering and delivery service operated through local supermarkets.
      Peapod subsequently developed into online shopping though continuing to fulfil orders
      through local supermarkets. In mid-1998, Peapod announced that it was offering
      combinations of prepackaged dry goods and household items which would be
      dispatched by courier from central warehouses direct to customers, effectively
      establishing non-store retailing services to its customers.

      Home shopping requires either a collection arrangement or a delivery service and, in
      the UK, Tesco is providing home deliveries to customers living within the M25
      motorway around London. In this scheme, customers can place orders through
      telephone, fax or the Internet and there is a charge of £5 for the delivery. Iceland, a
      frozen food retailer, also operates a scheme wherein customers can order by
      telephone or fax from a catalogue with free home delivery for orders above Stg£40
      within a two hour time window specified by the customer. Sainsbury is understood to
      be backing an independent home delivery service in the London area.

      A US model for order fulfilment is Streamline which operates in Boston. Streamline
      charges customers $30 per month (£21.42) for a weekly delivery service which
      includes groceries, laundry, dry cleaning and video tapes. Streamline set up
      refrigerators in customers’ garages so that deliveries can be made to empty
      households. Orders are received by telephone, fax or e-mail and Streamline is now
      selling groceries direct from its own warehouse at competitive prices.

•     Opening Hours

      At another level, improved customer service is being defined in terms of longer
      opening hours and Sunday trading. There are substantial differences in opening hours
      across Europe, ranging from Scotland which has no restrictions, to Germany, Austria
      and Switzerland which prohibit opening on Sundays and restrict Saturday opening.
      Some major retailers indicate that late weekday opening hours and Sundays can
      account for as much as 40% of weekly turnover in particular locations.

      The experience of Irish retailers is that Sunday trading is now a significant element of
      the overall trading pattern, though no published data is available to illustrate this.

2.3.4     Supply Chain Dominance


        FIGURE 2.5:        Supply Chain Dominance
                                        Structure Format




    Improved Service                        Retailers                         Diversification




                                    Supply Chain Dominance
Page 32                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



    The fourth key international development is the increasing influence over the supply
    chain by major retailers such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer which has given the
    retailers substantial control over distribution, while at the same time, ownership of the
    warehouses and operation of the vehicle fleets is largely carried out by third parties.

    The key to the development of dedicated supply networks is having sufficient volume
    to get economies of scale from RDCs (regional distribution centres) and from the
    vehicle fleet. The RDC will receive goods direct from suppliers and will schedule
    deliveries to individual retail outlets.

    With the increase in average store sizes referred to previously, goods volumes carried
    on vehicles from RDCs are such that vehicle capacity utilisation is improved
    significantly. In addition, deliveries of products can be made on a daily basis and this
    obviates the need for stores to maintain ‘back room’ storage space. In the case of
    clothing shops and department stores in Dublin, it is increasingly the case that all
    stocks are carried on the shelves or racks and that ‘back room’ stores do not exist.
    This optimises the selling space and hence the turnover of a particular premises.

    The typical structure of an RDC system is one of:



          Supplier                         RDC                           Retailer



    In many cases, the ownership and operation of the RDC is separate from the retailer,
    though not always so. In the UK for example, Tesco is understood to own two RDCs
    while its remaining eight are third party operations.

    Sainsbury in the UK operates 18 distribution centres of which eight are operated
    directly and the remainder are operated by third party logistics specialists. Three of the
    eighteen distribution centres are specialist frozen food facilities.

    The major advantages of dedicated RDCs are that:

    •     inventory for a number of stores can be centred in one location and therefore kept
          to a minimum; and

    •     goods can be delivered to the retail outlets quickly thus keeping inventory levels
          down within the retail outlets.

    There are a number of conditions that must be met however, in order for RDCs to
    operate at an optimum level.

    Firstly, volumes must be of a size that will justify the investment in developing an RDC.

    The second aspect of the central distribution is the operation of the retail stores. In the
    UK, retailers own each store whereas many stores in chains in continental Europe are
    actually independently owned. Ownership of the retail chain is essential to ensure
    uniformity of goods stocked and uniformity of IT systems and ordering processes. This
    implies a very high level of central control, which in turn is reflected in common
    merchandising practices, common promotional activity and common retail formats.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 33



    Thus, in the UK, central contact is very high. All marketing and promotional activity is
    agreed centrally; merchandising and sales visits by suppliers to individual stores are
    unnecessary. This central control is done in order to ensure predictable consumer
    demand and, in turn, to maximise efficiency in the supply chain.

    The development of RDCs can have significant implications for manufacturers of
    branded products, who benefit from cost savings by delivering to RDCs rather than to
    a number of individual stores, (though many UK manufacturers say that the retailers
    gained most of the cost savings in subsequent negotiations) but who see a vital loss
    of control over how the branded product is merchandised and presented to the buying
    public. While the branded product manufacturers can seek to develop consumer
    demand through extensive advertising, their control over other aspects of the
    marketing mix is greatly reduced.

    A third aspect of RDCs is the need for suppliers to develop their IT and
    communications systems to fit with those of the retailer and the RDCs. The supply
    chain has been engineered so that retailers stocks are kept to a minimum, while out-
    of-stocks are avoided. This necessitates a well engineered structure in which
    information flows are timely, rapid and accurate, primarily through EDI.

    The fourth aspect of RDCs is the key role of information and the timely transmission
    of accurate data. Using POS scanning systems and EDI links, RDCs can be advised
    quickly of sales in individual stores and hence can fine tune the delivery from the
    RDCs to the retail outlets to minimise stocks at the retail level. The major basis for
    ordering product is to replenish goods purchased by consumers.

    Arising from this, the ex-factory deliveries can be planned to conform as closely as
    possible with consumer demand and, in turn, minimise stocks at RDCs. The final link
    in the chain is for the manufacturers to balance production to get the best efficiencies
    from their production and delivery processes, using the sales data provided by the
    retailer. This linkage of producer output to consumer demand is effectively a reversal
    of the traditional ‘push’ type process wherein manufacturers sought to push output
    down the line. Instead, products are now pulled up the supply chain.

    For branded product manufacturers, this raises issues of generating demand. For all
    manufacturers, it can mean re-engineering the production process to achieve higher
    efficiencies with shorter production runs, and often requires balancing the benefits of
    longer production times with the costs of carrying inventory.

    This in turn, means that the system must be driven by predictable consumer demand,
    which means that promotional activity must be carried out in a planned way and that
    the effect of promotions, in the form of increased sales must be predicted with a
    reasonable degree of accuracy, to prevent stock outs or a build up of unused stocks.

•   Efficient Consumer Response (ECR)

    ECR is a co-operative approach amongst all the parties in the supply chain to analyse
    the value chain from suppliers of raw materials all the way to the consumer to identify
    opportunities for performance improvement. The ECR approach involves co-operation
    throughout the supply chain on a range of aspects of the relationships including:
Page 34                              THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



    –     replenishment of goods throughout the supply chain
    –     new product introduction
    –     promotions and
    –     in-store activities.

    The anticipated benefits of ECR are broad. They include:

    –     cost reduction - ECR has the potential to reduce non-value-added activities and
          also to lower inventory. The financial benefits estimated in the initial US study by
          Kurt Salmon Associates amounted to around 5% of retail sales;

    –     improved timeliness - ECR promotes better transmission of data and the
          synchronisation of activities within the value chain;

    –     better quality - ECR enables consumers’ expectations to be met in a better way,
          through higher process and delivery reliability and the avoidance of the
          degradation of perishable goods;

    –     higher levels of customer service - ECR leads to improved customer service in
          areas as diverse as the avoidance of stock-outs, the ability to be responsive to
          particular customer requests and the provision of better designed store layouts
          and displays;

   –      adaptability - ECR explicitly targets new product introduction as a process to be
          improved.


    In 1996, the European Value Chain Analysis Study, published by ECR Europe
    estimated benefits of 5.7% of retail sales from the use of ECR strategies.

   Despite the variation, there is consensus within the industry that the scale of the
   benefits attributable to ECR in Europe should amount to some 5% of retail sales.

    To achieve the benefits, ECR involves four strategies:

    –     improved replenishment - the replenishment of goods to be carried out with
          greater efficiency. In the grocery industry in the US the level of inventory within the
          value chain exceeds 100 days whereas in the UK the figure is less than 30 days,
          of which about one third, or 10 days stock, is held in the retail outlets. Despite the
          low level of inventory, UK retailers obtain service levels in excess of 98%.
          Differences between countries are not only confined to inventory levels, the level
          of non-value-added activities varies widely as does the inherent efficiency of the
          physical distribution network. ECR seeks to generate savings by reducing the
          overall level of inventory and eliminating non-value added activities in the supply
          chain;

    –     new product introduction - in the groceries market it has been estimated that
          over three quarters of new products introduced do not subsequently obtain a
          significant presence. The inherent loss is substantial, both as regards the wasted
          effort in developing and launching the failed products and in the lost potential
          sales. ECR seeks to improve the success rate of new product introductions;
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 35



      –   promotions - lack of co-ordination on product promotions within the value chain
          can lead to increased levels of inventory and misdirected incentives. ECR seeks
          to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of promotions;

      –   store assortments - the joint planning of displays and layouts has been shown to
          boost sales, providing joint benefits to both manufacturer and retailer. ECR seeks
          to generate benefits through improved activities.

There has been some uncertainty over the scale of the potential benefits, as these will
vary substantially, depending on particular situations. The relatively costly distribution
structure in Ireland, alluded to in Chapter 3, suggests that opportunities for performance
improvement within the supply chain exists. Furthermore, interviewees consider that
scope exists in Ireland for improvements in the areas of new product introduction and in-
store activities.

If one extrapolates the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Group estimate of benefits of 2.9%
of retail sales onto the Irish food and confectionery market, then one would deduce
potential benefits of £124 million in that sector alone. This is less than the potential cost
savings of £150 million estimated independently by interviewees in the trade and may
indicate that the potential benefits of ECR in the food sector could be more of the order of
the 5% financial benefits estimated for the US by Kurt Salmon Associates.

Industry sources in the UK indicate that retailers are only now beginning to drive the
development of ECR principles and that no concrete benefits are yet evident. As noted
previously, there are some concerns that the full potential benefits are not being achieved
in the US, and that the independent retailer may be benefiting to a much smaller degree
than major retailers. Nonetheless, one must conclude that should any benefits be
achievable, then it is virtually certain that ECR will be developed to a large extent in
Ireland.

A number of pilot schemes have been undertaken in Ireland in areas as diverse as laundry
products and soft drinks. Through improved category management, the benefits of
increased sales values and volumes, improved stock turnover, reductions in total stock
levels and reductions in SKUs (stock keeping units) have been achieved.

2.4       Vertical Integration

Examples of vertical integration within the retailing sector are rare and in many cases,
what are perceived to be examples are, in fact, cases where retail owners also have
interests in certain manufacturing activities.

The concept of vertical integration however requires some consideration of the concept of
control without ownership. Developments in the supply chain of retailers such as Tesco
and Marks & Spencer have given the retailers substantial control over the distribution and
processing system, while at the same time, ownership of the warehouses, operation of the
vehicle fleets and manufacturing plants rests with third parties.

In the retail sector much of the changing balances of power in favour of the retailer stems
from them extending their influence over the supply chain and few examples of true
vertical integration can be identified in Europe. Of those that do exist, most relate to
manufacturers seeking to develop retail outlets. An example of vertical integration in the
Page 36                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



retail sector that is often cited, is that of Benetton, which operates in excess of 8,000
outlets in over 100 countries. In our view, Benetton is not a retailer but a manufacturer.
This view is based on Benetton’s ownership of its manufacturing operations while the retail
outlets are franchise operations.

In a similar vein, Laura Ashley was a manufacturer initially and moved into retailing in 1967
with a very clear, distinct and focused brand image which has remained quite constant
over time since then. Laura Ashley operates over 500 stores internationally and all Laura
Ashley products are sold only through those stores. The stores focus on clothing and
home furnishing and are a combination of directly owned and franchised outlets.

The view expressed by the retail sector is that other examples of vertical integration by
manufacturers will emerge, but will most likely come from specialist manufacturers, who
focus on a particular product category, be it in the clothing, fashion, household or food
segments, and who will trade mainly through small to medium sized outlets, as they will
not have the product range to fill large stores. To be successful, they will need to develop
a unique brand image.

There is a conflict of views as to whether stores such as Marks & Spencer, which carry
only own-label products, should be regarded as vertically integrated. Such stores are seen
by some as exporters of the ranges they carry, and that by concentrating on own-label,
they minimise the opportunities for local suppliers. The majority of views is that such
stores are not inextricably tied to particular producers, and as such, cannot be realistically
described as vertically integrated.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                Page 37



3.0       The Irish Retail Sector

3.1       Summary

•     The number of retail outlets in Ireland has grown from just under 40,000 in 1977 to nearly
      53,000 in 1998. There has been a significant reduction in grocery shops, which has been
      more than offset by increases in the numbers of shops providing personal services.

•     Within the food sector, there has been a reduction in shop numbers over that period
      largely amongst the independent general grocers.

•     The rate of growth of concentration in the food sector has levelled off in recent years.
      There is an expectation that concentration will increase as a result of increased
      competition arising from the recent entry of major UK food retailers into the Irish market.

•     The level of own-label food product sales in Ireland is low compared to other countries.
      There is an expectation that own-label sales will continue to increase in the near future.

•     The number of clothing shops has remained constant in recent years. The
      independent specialist is a significant participant in this sector.

•     The direct economic contribution of the retail sector, measured as gross value added
      (GVA) as a percentage of GDP, has been growing in Ireland in recent years.
      Comparisons with other countries indicate that the ratio of GVA to GDP does not
      change significantly as an economy grows.

•     Employment in the retail sector in Ireland accounted for 10.8% of total employment in
      1998. Employment in the retail sector is high in Ireland compared to other European
      countries.

•     There have been significant trends towards part-time and female employment in the
      retail sector. As the Irish economy develops, further employment is likely to be created,
      but it is anticipated that many of the jobs will be part time.

•     Retailing has significant linkages within the Irish economy. 50 per cent of employment
      in food and clothing manufacturing companies which employ 20 people and over, are
      dependent directly on the Irish retail market.

•     Irish retailers compare reasonably well with the performance of UK retailers when
      quantitative comparisons are carried out. Industry sources are of the view that Irish retailers
      could be much more competitive in aspects of retailing such as purchasing, category
      management, logistics management, store management and consumer marketing.

•     Likely retail trends in Ireland in the next three to five years include:

      in the Food Sector
      • An increase in the level of concentration
      • Increases in the size of retail shops
      • Continued increase in the level of own-label products
      • A further reduction in the number of independent retailers
Page 38                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



      •   Development by the multiples of a range of shop formats and sizes to suit local
          market conditions
      •   Continued development of forecourt retailing
      •   Entry of a ‘hard’ discounter into the Irish market

      in the Clothing Sector;
      • A modest increase in the level of concentration
      • Emergence of further specialist retailers bearing international brand names
      • Continued development of department stores trading at the leading edge of
           fashion
      • The development of further retail outlet types including factory outlet centres and
           retail warehouse parks
      • The potential entry of a large scale clothing discounter


3.2       Consumer Spending and Shopping Patterns

The key trends in consumer spending in Ireland in the period 1987 to 1994/1995 are
shown in the following table:



TABLE 3.1:        Average Weekly Household Expenditure, 1987 and 1994-95
                                                                         % Increase in
                                         1987              1994-95       Expenditure
Main Commodity Groups                £          %         £       %     1987 to 1994-95
Food                               56.26     25.2      70.75     22.7         +25.8
Drink & tobacco                    17.81        8.0    23.85      7.7         +33.9
Clothing & footwear                15.04        6.7    19.92      6.4         +32.4
Fuel & light                       14.00        6.3    15.48      4.9         +10.6
Housing                            19.66        8.8    30.5      69.8         +55.4
Household non-durables              4.64        2.1     7.26      2.3         +56.5
Household durables                  8.75        3.9    11.28      3.6         +28.9
Miscellaneous goods                 7.75        3.5    11.89      3.8         +53.4
Transport                          30.30     13.6      44.73     14.4         +47.6
Services and other expenditures 48.87        21.9      76.01     24.4          55.5
Total expenditure                 223.08    100.0     311.73   100.00         +39.7

Source: CSO Household Budget Survey, 1997.

Overall household weekly expenditure grew by 39.7% over the period, but expenditure on
fuel and light, food, household durables and clothing and footwear grew at lower rates.
Expenditure on food fell from 25.2% of weekly spend in 1987 to 22.7% in 1994/95.
The low growth in the commodity groups listed previously is counteracted by high growth
in other groups including housing, household non-durables (which include toiletries and
personal care products) and services and other expenditures (which covers a range of
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                    Page 39



segments including entertainment, education and personal services such as hairdressing
and childcare). These trends are not unique to Ireland, but are typical features of
growing economies.

The average annual increase in the spend on food was 2.9% over the period 1987 to
1994/95. Analysis of the CSO data for food expenditure highlights particular trends of
interest to retailers and producers. These show, for example, that:

•   expenditure on fresh meat, poultry and seafood increased by just 1% per annum
•   expenditure on fresh vegetables increased at 2.8% per annum, virtually identical
    to overall food spend
•   expenditure on fresh and frozen vegetables increased by 7.4% and 6.4% per annum
    respectively
•   expenditure on prepared food increased at 15.1% per annum, and
•   expenditure on hotel and entertainment meals increased by 6.5% per annum.

In summary, the expenditure data shows a shift in consumer expenditure from fresh to
frozen products, from basic products to more prepared products and from buying food for
home consumption to eating out.

These trends are consistent with current consumer trends to devote less time to shopping
and meal preparation and providing more time for family related and leisure activities.

In the area of clothing and footwear, the annual increase in expenditure over the period
has been 3.6% on average. There has not been a significant variation within the
segments, the highest rate of change being in boy’s clothing and footwear which
increased at 4.5% per annum and the lowest being girl’s clothing and footwear which
increased at 3.1% per annum over the period.
Page 40                                         THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



3.3        Retail Enterprises, Outlets and Formats

In comparison with other European countries, Ireland has a relatively high number of retail
enterprises, as shown in table 3.2.


         TABLE 3.2:                Retail Business Numbers 8 - Europe, 1998

                                                        Enterprises per                   Sales per
                                                         10,000 people                    Capita
         Greece                                                 N/A                         2,279
         Belgium                                                110                         5,278
         Spain                                                  142                         2,239
         Italy                                                  105                         5,722
         Ireland                                                  76                        4,332
         France                                                   59                        5,178
         Netherlands                                            157                         3,943
         Denmark                                                  66                        5,249
         Germany                                                  37                        3,866
         UK                                                       35                        4,366

         Source - European Retail Handbook, Corporate Intelligence Group, 1999

It was noted in Chapter 2 that three models can be deduced for retailing in Europe, namely
the Nordic model, the North Mainland European model and the Mediterranean model. It
was also noted that Ireland did not fit any of these models precisely, but appeared to fall
between the North Mainland European and the Mediterranean models.

Table 3.2, which ranks the countries of these two models on the basis of the number of
retail enterprises per 10,000 population, confirms Ireland’s position between the two
models. The Mediterranean countries have a relatively high number of retail enterprises
per unit of population, while the North Mainland European countries generally have a
much lower ratio. Thus, Ireland is positioned between countries which have consolidated
into markets of large scale retailers (in both the food and clothing sectors), with high levels
of concentration and where the retailers dominate the supplier base and, countries where
modern retailing structures are emerging and where the balance of power in the supply
chain is moving towards the retailers.

In Ireland, overall retail outlet numbers have increased since the late 1970s, as shown in
table 3.3 below. While the number of grocery and clothing outlets has been falling, this has
been more than offset by the increase in the number of other outlets.




8 Figures relate to latest year available, which in most cases is around the mid 1990s.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 41



       TABLE 3.3:        Retail Structure in Ireland

                                  1977            1988             1993            1998
       Grocery (1)             13,780           10,670             9,669          9,181
       Pubs/Off Licences         7,286            8,020            8,273          8,642
       Other Food (2)            2,588            3,110            2,946          2,857
       Drapery/Footwear               -           4,788            4,486          4,259
       Restaurants               1,034            1,911            2,603          3,102
       Others                  15,009           16,207           23,293          24,723
       Total                   39,697           44,706           51,270          52,764
       Source: AC Nielsen, Retail Census 1998, Nielsen, Dublin.
        1.      Includes garages with shops
        2.      Butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers and bakeries

The growth in total retail outlets has been driven mainly by specialist outlets, such as DIY
shops, restaurants, licensed clubs, jewellers and hairdressing salons, and the emergence
of retail outlets specialising in new retail segments such as mobile telephones.

The changes in the retail structure in Ireland mirror the shifts in consumer spending noted
previously. In the food and clothing sectors, relatively low growth in consumer expenditure,
coupled with competition between retailers, has led to a reduction in outlets in these
sectors. On the other hand, the increases in expenditure in eating out and on services
reflect the growth in restaurants and in other non-food and non-clothing outlets.

One segment within the grocery trade that has shown a notable increase in numbers is
garage forecourt shops. These have grown as follows:

       TABLE 3.4:        Forecourt Shops in Ireland

                                  1988            1993             1996            1998
       Garages with shops          673             979            1,282           1,429
       Source: AC Nielsen, Retail Census 1998, Dublin.

This growth in numbers of forecourt shops, coupled with the relatively slow decline of
‘specialist’ food outlets, i.e., butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers and bakeries, supports
the view within the trade that food retailers are developing into a structure comprising:

   •    large general grocery stores;
   •    smaller sized convenience and ‘top-up’ shops; and,
   •    specialist niche retailers such as butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers.

The sizes of the outlets may vary, depending on the size of population being served. While
major centres such as Dublin could support a number of large scale food shops, some
provincial towns would support perhaps two or three medium sized outlets. The data
indicates that the decline in grocery shop numbers is largely attributable to the small,
independent general grocery outlets.
Page 42                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Within the grocery sector the number of multiples has remained relatively constant. Many
of the forecourt shops noted above are part of symbol groups, which have contributed to
the recent growth in this category. There has been a substantial reduction in the
independent segment as can be seen in table 3.5.

      TABLE 3.5:        Retail Grocery Shop Numbers: 1977-1998

                             1977          1983         1988         1993         1998
      Multiples                141          161           149          160         157
      Symbol Groups          1,802        1,715         1,134        1,015       1,152
      Independents          11,832        9,694         9,387        8,494       7,872
      Total                 13,775       11,570       10,670         9,669       9,181

      Source: AC Nielsen, Retail Census 1998, Nielsen, Dublin.

The reduction in the number of multiples shown in this table is attributed to the take-over
of the L&N stores by Musgraves in 1996 which has been largely offset by the addition of
over fifteen new multiple outlets in recent years.

3.4       Food Sector Retail

A key development in food retailing has been the growth in the level of concentration over
the past two decades as shown in Table 3.6.

      TABLE 3.6:        Food Sector Retail Concentration in Ireland


                              1988          1993          1996          1998
                            Market        Market        Market        Market
                           Share %       Share %       Share %       Share %
      Top 5%                   58            61            68           65
      Top 10%                  66            70            77           74
      Top 20%                  75            80            87           84
      Top 50%                  89            94            96           95
      Top 100%               100            100           100          100

      Source: AC Nielsen, Retail Census 1998, Nielsen, Dublin.

The level of concentration in the Irish market had been growing consistently up to 1996,
but more recent data suggests a reversal of this trend has become evident. This is
attributed in the main to the rapid increase in smaller convenience store numbers and
competition between the symbol groups, particularly those with small ‘top-up’ shops, and
the multiples. There is an expectation that the growth in concentration will resume,
particularly as a result of the expected increases in new shop sizes and the development
of out-of-town centres.

Data provided by AC Nielsen for 1998 shows that 91.7% of the multiples’ outlets are 5,000
feet or more in size. By way of contrast, the symbol group shops, which have grown
rapidly in number in recent years tend to be much smaller. Only 10.3% of these outlets
exceed 5,000 square feet. Of the other types of outlets, the independent grocer and
garage shops, over 85% of these outlets are of a size under 1,000 sq ft.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 43



The estimated shares of major grocery retailers in Ireland, for 1997, was as follows:

      TABLE 3.7:         Grocery Retail Market Shares

      Multiples              %      Symbol Group           %     Independents       %
      Dunnes Stores         21.6    Super Valu            15.0 Independents         15.1
      Quinnsworth/Tesco 16.0        Spar                   4.0
      Crazy Prices            8.8   Centra                 3.2
      Superquinn              7.9   Mace                   2.0
      Roches Stores*          1.8   Others                 3.6
      Total Multiples               Total                Total
      Share %               56.1    Symbol Groups % 27.8 Independents % 15.1
      Stores as % of
      Total Stores            1.7                         12.5                      85.7
      Source: KPMG/Attwood 1998 * Food now supplied through Musgraves

The acquisition of Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices by Tesco in 1997 provides it with a 25%
share of the Irish market. The symbol groups have performed particularly strongly in
recent years to reach a situation where the largest symbol group, Musgrave’s Supervalu
and Centra, accounts for some 18% of the retail market. The symbol groups have been
successful in competing with the multiples for market share. Together with Dunnes Stores
and Tesco these three retail chains control about 65% of the retail market.

In regional terms, there are some market share variations which should be noted:

•   The Dublin area is the most densely populated area of the country. It accounts for 31%
    of grocery turnover but only 16% of grocery stores;

•   The multiples are estimated to have an 81% share of the Dublin market as against
    just over 56% nationally. The share of the symbol groups which is 26% nationally is of
    the order of 10% in Dublin.

Industry sources expect that competition in the Dublin market will become increasingly
intense in the near future, given the scale of the Dublin market in national terms and the
level of disposable income in that area. There is also a view in the industry that of all the
population segments, Dublin consumers are more likely to accept international retailers
and will be more willing to try new products and new retail formats.

Outside the Dublin region, towns are smaller and therefore stores of smaller size are more
suitable. It is in such towns that the symbol groups and independents are stronger at
present, but are likely to face competition from the introduction of a range of formats by
the multiples.

Private Label
Ireland traditionally has not had a high degree of own-label penetration in the food
sector compared to other countries as shown in Table 3.8, which relates to 1998.
Page 44                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



                 Table 3.8: Own-label Food Market Share - 1997

                Country                                          Volume (%)
                UK                                                  44.2
                France                                              23.8
                Germany                                             18.5
                Belgium                                             40.7
                Netherlands                                         27.4
                Ireland                                             15.0

   Source: International Private Label Retailing, AC Nielsen, 1998, Bord Bia for 1998.

The growth in own-label food sales has varied for different countries as shown in Table 3.9.

             Table 3.9: Growth in Own-label Food Sales, 1996-1997

                Country                        Volume growth in own-label
                                                     1996-1997(%)
                Germany                                     +2.2
                France                                      +1.3
                Belgium                                     +1.0
                UK                                           -0.0
                Netherlands                                 +0.1
                Ireland                                     +0.7

             Source: International Private Label Retailing, AC Nielsen, 1998

Precise detailed information on own-label sales in Ireland for the overall retail market is not
readily available. Industry sources have varied opinions on the level of own-label sales, with
many holding the view that Dunnes Stores, through its St. Bernard label is the leader in
own-label sales, followed closely by Tesco, with Superquinn developing its own-label
ranges rapidly. The industry is watching developments closely to see in which product
segments own-label sales are seen to be successful. It is estimated by An Bord Bia that
own-label sales are of the order of 15% of total grocery sales at present. Currently, the
focus appears to be on the higher value added products such as ready meals, but some
fresh food segments e.g., rashers, are now emerging. The pace of own-label development
has accelerated during 1999.

One of the key attractions of own-label sales for retailers is the higher gross margins
achieved. Industry sources indicate that non-food own-label products generate gross
margins in excess of 20% compared to 6% or so for branded products though this saving
is not necessarily passed on to consumers in full. Margins on food products vary
substantially but are generally much higher on own-label products.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                            Page 45



It is anticipated within the industry that own-label product sales will continue to grow
internationally, particularly in countries such as Ireland where own-label shares are
relatively low. There is considerable uncertainty amongst industry sources as to whether
there is a natural upper limit to own-label sales. There is a view that branded products are
an essential element of the retail trade, partly as a response to consumer choice and
partly to provide comparisons for own-label products. However, some sources note that
Marks and Spencer has grown strongly, both in the UK and internationally with a
completely own-label range. Some of the views expressed in interviews are that where
own-label sales are high, e.g., in the UK, further development will depend on new product
introduction e.g., in prepared meals, rather than by replacement of branded products.

There is a consensus within the industry that there is significant potential for own-label
sales to increase in Ireland in food products. This is discussed later in section 3.7.3.



3.5     Clothing Sector Retail

The trend in the number of clothing and footwear outlets in the country, excluding
department stores, has been as follows:

Table 3.10:      Selected Clothing and Fashion Outlets, 1977-1998

                                1977     1983     1988     1991     1993      1996     1998
Drapery & Boutiques                 *        *    4,117   4,039    3,780     3,798     3,648
Footwear                         585      691       671      727      706      638       611
TOTAL                            N/a      N/a     4,788    4,766    4,486    4,436     4,259
Source: AC Nielsen, Retail Census, 1998.

Since 1996, the number of drapery stores and boutiques has declined by 150 outlets. The
number of footwear outlets increased from 1966 to 1983 and from 1988 to 1991. Since
1991, the number of footwear outlets has declined.

The clothing sector is marked by a relatively high turnover of outlets, mainly in the small
sized independent boutiques, many of which avail of attractive lease terms in shopping
centres. Within the retail trade, there are views that the clothing sector is relatively buoyant
at present, particularly at the up-market levels and that the decline in shop numbers
indicates that it is existing traders rather than new entrants that are benefiting from the
current buoyancy.

The clothing and footwear market in Ireland is dominated by multiples and department
stores who have the largest market share and turnover. In terms of outlet numbers, the
sector has a significant number of small, independent retailers, the majority of which are
family owned and operated.

The major organisations in the clothing and footwear sectors are Dunnes Stores and
Penneys, both of which are multiple clothing retailers. They both aim at the lower priced
end of the market. Together these two retailers control approximately 40% of the total
clothing market. The department stores are also very important in both the fashion and
footwear sectors.
Page 46                                               THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



In the footwear sector there is increasing concentration with approximately 65-75% of the
market controlled by the top seven multiples in Ireland (including Northern Ireland). Some
indigenous retailers remain in the footwear sector, but strong competition has emerged
from British retailers in their various formats.

Detailed market shares are not available for the clothing sector as in the food sector. The
view of industry sources is that the level of concentration is increasing but at a modest rate.

A key factor in the clothing sector retail structure has been the development of shopping
centres. Generally, these centres depend on a major food retailer as anchor tenant and
other retail units in the centres provide a ready basis for setting up independent fashion
and footwear retailers. Shopping centres have provided access to the Irish market for
some overseas retailers in this sector.


3.6         The Role of Retail in the Economy

Retail is one of the major parts of the services sector and up to now has been generally a
non-exporting one. It is an important wealth generating sector in the Irish economy.

3.6.1       Gross Value Added

The total estimated sales of the Irish retail sector, current prices, were £7.2 billion in 1987
and rose to an estimated £17.9 billion in 1997, the latest year for which data is available.
However, in looking at retail’s contribution to the economy, gross value added (GVA) is a
more useful concept. The GVA of the retail sector in 1997 was estimated to be £2.91
billion. This represented a contribution of 6% to total Irish GDP, a small increase over the
1994 level of just over 5%.

Between 1991 and 1994, the estimated value added of the retail sector grew by 28.5%
(in current prices) and by 64% between 1994 and 1997. As a result of this rapid growth,
the contribution of retail to GDP rose slightly over this period, even as GDP itself grew very
rapidly. The slight increase in retail GVA as a proportion of GDP contrasts with the
proportion of GDP accounted for by services as a whole, which fell from 56% in 1991 to
54% over the period to 1997.

         TABLE 3.11:                   Estimated Gross Retail Value Added as a Share of
                                       GDP, 1991-1997

                                                   GVA of Entire Retail                            GVA of Three Outlet
                                                   Sector as % of GDP                              Types as % of GDP*
         1991                                                     4.9                                              2.4
         1994                                                     5.1                                              2.5
         1997                                                     6.0                                             2.9
         Source: Annual Services Inquiry 1991, 1994; 1997 National Income
         and Expenditure 1998, CSO



      * The three types of outlet are grocery; other food, drink, tobacco and newspapers; and footwear, drapery and apparel. This excludes public
         houses and off-licences; garages and filling stations; and all other non-food outlets. The 1994 data for grocery are merged with other sub-
         sectors in Annual Services Inquiry. The grocery figure is estimated using the 1991 proportionate breakdown.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 47



A comparison with other countries is set out in table 3.12:

        TABLE 3.12:      Retail GVA as a % of National GDP for
                         Seven OECD Countries (1992)

West Germany


        Iceland


     Denmark


        Finland


        Ireland


  New Zealand


        Canada



                  0      1       2       3       4       5      6

Source: OECD Services Statistics on Value Added and Employment (1996), EIU World Economic
Outlook (1995), OECD Economic Surveys - Ireland (1995), CSO Annual Services Inquiry (1992)

While the date relates to 1992, this comparison indicates that the level of GVA is relatively
constant, irrespective of the stage of development of a country’s economy. Amongst the
countries shown, the per capita GDP range from $13,000 to $21,500 per annum, yet the
retail sector GVA varies little. This suggests that as Ireland’s economy continues to grow,
retail GVA will increase broadly in line with GDP.

3.6.2    Employment

The CSO Quarterly National Household Survey estimated that there were 161,100 people
at work in the retail sector in 1998. This relates to all those who perceived this work as
their ‘usual principal occupation’. Included in the figure are paid employees, employers
and unpaid workers (e.g., family members).

The estimated number of people at work in the retail sector rose by almost 15,400
between 1988 and 1997.

The estimated 161,100 people who worked in retail in 1998 represented 10.8% of total
Irish employment in that year. This is a slight decrease from the 1988 figure of 11.7%.

Table 3.13 shows the proportion of total employment accounted for by retail across the
different EU Member States.
Page 48                                        THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



         TABLE 3.13:              Retail Employment as % of Total Employment
                                  for EU Member States

         Spain (1992)

            UK (1992)
        Ireland (1992)

           Italy (1990)

   Netherlands (1994)
  Luxembourg (1993)

   EUR-15 (1988-94)

       Greece (1988)
        France (1994)

        Austria (1994)
      Portugal (1993)

     Germany (1993)

     Denmark (1992)
      Sweden (1994)

        Finland (1993)

      Belgium (1988)


                                0%      2%       4%       6%      8%       10%      12%       14%



Source: Eurostat, Retailing in the European Economic Area, 1996


The table shows a wide variation in the proportion of total employment which is accounted
for by retail. While there is not a precise correlation, there is some tendency for richer EU
countries to have a lower proportion of their workforce in retail. Reviewing the statistics,
Eurostat comments that ‘this seems to indicate that the modernisation of commerce
(wholesale and retail) that goes hand in hand with economic growth reduces the sector’s
high employment to some extent’. However, the UK and the Netherlands have relatively
high employment levels, both being above the EU average. This is attributed to a relatively
high level of part-time workers in retail in these countries. Based on the Eurostat data
above, the share of part-time employment accounted for by retail as a percentage of
commercial part-time employment was 42.9% and 52.2% in the UK and Netherlands
respectively, compared to Ireland’s 36% in 1992 and an EU average of 22.3%.

3.6.3      Full-time and Part-time Employment

There has been a clear movement towards part-time working in the sector in recent years.
In 1988, 27% of employees9 worked on a part-time basis. By 1998, part-time employees
accounted for an estimated 56% of all retail employees.




9 This information refers to employees only, i.e. it excludes employers and family members not paid wages or salaries. The CSO
  Annual Services Inquiry defines “part-time” as usually working fewer than 30 hours a week.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 49



        TABLE 3.14:      Estimated Breakdown of Retail Employment
                         into Full-time and Part-time, 1988-1997

                                  1988   1991       1992   1993     1994     1996      1997
                                   %      %          %      %        %        %         %
Full-Time                         72.6    68.0      64.5    62.3     59.8     58.8       44.4
Part-Time                         27.4       32.0   35.5    37.7     40.2     41.2       55.6
Total                        100.0 100.0     100.0 100.0 100.0        100.0           100.0
Source: Census of Services 1988; Annual Services Inquiry 1991-97, CSO

3.6.4    Male and Female Employment

A second noticeable trend in recent years has been an increase in the proportion of
women at work in retail.

        TABLE 3.15:      Estimated Males and Females at Work in Retail,
                         1994-1998

        Year                         Male                     Females            Total
                                   (‘000s)                     (‘000s)          (‘000s)

        1994               70.4    (54.8%)             58.0   (45.2%)            128.4
        1995               70.9    (53.1%)             62.5   (46.8%)            133.4
        1996               73.0    (53.2%)             64.1   (46.8%)            137.1
        1997               73.9    (50.7%)             71.7   (49.3%)            145.6
        1998               82.1    (51.0%)             78.9   (49.0%)            161.0
        Source: Quarterly National Household Survey, 1994-98, CSO

This table shows that, of the estimated 32,600 extra jobs in retail between 1994 and 1998
20,900 (64%) were taken by women and only 11,700 (36%) by men. If the current trend
continues, women will outnumber men in retail employment within five years.

3.6.5    Growth in Female Part-time Employment

Combining the two trends described above, it is of interest to ask how male and female
workers in retail differ in regard to full-time and part-time work. Table 3.16 shows how this
has evolved in recent years.
Page 50                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



        TABLE 3.16:      Estimated Breakdown of Male and Female Retail
                         Employment into Full-time and Part-time, 1994-1998

        Year        % Total Male Employment          % Total Female Employment
                    Full-time      Part-time         Full-time        Part-time
        1994          92.3                 6.7          69.1                  30.9
        1995          92.1                 7.9          66.9                  33.1
        1996          91.6                 8.4          67.9                  32.1
        1997          90.4                 9.6          67.9                  32.1
        1998          84.8                15.2          57.0                  43.0

        Source: CSO, 1999.

Over the period 1994-1997 just over 30% of female retail employees perceived
themselves as working part-time, whereas only one in eleven male employees so
described themselves. This proportion increased to over 40% in 1998, while the proportion
of males working in part-time employment also increased significantly in 1998.
Furthermore, there has been a greater increase in the proportion of women working part-
time over the period 1994-98 than in that of men.

3.6.6     Wages and Salaries

The last year for which full reliable data exist as regards the total wages and salaries paid
out by the retail sector is 1997. For that year, retail wages and salaries amounted to
£1.458 billion. This was equivalent to about 6.9% of total wages and salaries paid in the
Irish economy in that year up from 5.5% in 1987.

The figure of almost 7% compares to an employment figure for retail of 11% of total Irish
employment. The difference between the two is due to:

•   the relatively high number of people working in retail who are
    not paid a wage or salary, i.e. employers and unpaid family members;
•   the high level of part-time work in the sector;
•   generally lower average wages and salaries in retail than for the economy
    as a whole.

3.6.7     Retail Spending

The strong growth in the Irish economy in the 1990s has been accompanied by strong
growth in personal consumption. In 1996, personal consumption was 45.8% higher than
in 1990. As one would expect, this strong growth in personal consumption fed into strong
growth in retail sales, which grew by 60% in curreent prices over the period 1990 to 1996.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                       Page 51



           TABLE 3.17:              Personal Consumption and Retail Sales
                                    (Current Prices), 1990-1998

     180
     170
     160
     150
     140                                                                            Personal Consumption
     130                                                                            Retail Sales value
     120
     110
     100
       1990 1991 1992 1993 1994                        1995      1996 1997   1998
1
    The figure for personal consumption in 1998 is an estimate
Source: National Income and Expenditure 1999, Retail Sales Index
- December 1998 and January 1994, CSO

The growth of retail sales by less than total personal consumption is due to the items
contained in each of these categories. The latter includes items such as expenditure on
overseas holidays, entertainment, education and recreation. These have accounted for a
growing proportion of Irish personal consumption between 1990 and 1998.

The overall strong retail growth masks different rates of growth for different store types.
Within the retail sector, data exist in relation to the rate of sales growth, by volume, for 14
different types of retail outlet, over the 1990-98 period:

•      strongest growth was in department stores, which saw growth of almost 45%;

•      two outlet types (hardware and electrical goods) saw growth of almost 35%;

•      three outlet types (drapery and apparel, chemist and other non-food) grew by between
       23% and 27%;

•      two outlet types (garages/filling stations and footwear) grew by 16-17%;

•      two outlet types had 1996 sales volumes almost identical to their 1990 volumes -
       public houses/off licences and other food, drink and tobacco;

•      three types of outlet actually saw sales volumes fall between 1990 and 1996 -
       grocery/public house combined, tobacco/sweets/newspapers and fresh meat outlets.
       The biggest drop related to fresh meat as the multiples and groups increased their
       share of fresh meat sales and butchers accounted for a declining market share.

These trends are consistent with Household Budget Survey 1994-1995 which showed that
while consumer spending rose by 39.7% in the period from 1988 to 1994/95, spending on
food rose by 25.8% and on clothing and footwear by 32.4%. By contrast, spending on
other services and household non-durables increased by 55.5% and 56.5% respectively.
Page 52                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



3.6.8     Purchase of Goods for Resale By Retailers

In 1997, purchases by Irish retailers of goods for direct resale were estimated to amount
to approximately £7,315m. The breakdown of these purchases by different types of retail
outlets is shown in Table 3.18.

        TABLE 3.18:         Estimated Purchases of Goods for Resale, 1997.


        Type of Outlet               Purchases of Goods for Resale
                                                (£mn)              % of Total
        Grocery                                 3,975,488                (54%)
        Retail Sale in Non Specialised Stores    443,693                  (6%)
        Chemists                                 388,343                  (5%)
        Textiles and Clothing                    508,697                  (7%)
        Footwear and Leather                      83,721                  (1%)
        Furniture and Lighting                   164,603                  (2%)
        Electrical Goods                         367,493                  (5%)
        Hardware                                 352,536                  (5%)
        Books, Newspaper and Stationary          231,661                  (3%)
        Other Retailing Specialised Stores       718,857                 (10%)
        Other Retail Sale                         79,899                  (1%)
        Total                                   7,314,991               (100%)

        Source: Annual Services Inquiry, CSO 1997.

Table 3.18 shows that grocery outlets are clearly the largest store type in terms of
purchases of goods for direct resale, followed by garages and filling stations. The data
refers to total purchases for resale by retail and do not break down as between purchases
from domestic and overseas manufacturers.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 53



3.6.9    Domestic Sales of Irish Manufactured Goods

Approaching the link between the Irish retail and manufacturing sectors from the
manufacturing perspective, Table 3.19 shows the value of sales by manufacturing firms in
Ireland on the Irish market. However, these sales are not necessarily to retailers as:

•   manufacturers sell intermediate goods to other manufacturers; and

•   manufacturers sell finished products to non-retail customers such as public sector
    procurement bodies or catering establishments.

As the data is not broken down by type of customer, specific sales by Irish manufacturing
firms to the retail sector cannot be identified.

        TABLE 3.19:        Domestic Sales of Selected
                           Manufacturing Sectors, 1996

                                                                       Domestic
                                                                       Sales (£m)
        Food, Drink and Tobacco
        - Meat                                                          1,265,048
        - Fish and Fish Products                                           80,878
        - Fruit and Vegetables                                            137,409
        - Dairy Products                                                2,075,412
        - Other Food Products                                             634,731
        - Beverages and Tobacco                                         2,010,173
        Textiles and Clothing
        - Textiles                                                        129,012
        - Wearing Apparel and Fur                                         125,682
        Total                                                           6,458,345
        Source: Census of Industrial Production, CSO 1996

In the manufacturing sub-sectors shown, the proportion of Irish output which is sold in
Ireland varies from under one quarter (other food products - a variety of mainly processed
foods - and fish/fish products) to over three quarters (fruit and vegetable products and
beverages/tobacco products).

3.6.10 Irish Imports of Manufactured Goods

Data on imports further help to build an understanding of where Irish retailers purchase
goods. Import data for 1994, 1997 and 1998 relating to food, drink, tobacco, clothing and
footwear are shown in table 3.20. This data includes goods used as inputs for further
production processes by Irish manufacturers. It is valued at import prices rather than the
prices paid by the retail sector.
Page 54                                      THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



        TABLE 3.20:             Irish Imports of Selected
                                Manufactured Goods, 1994, 1997 and 1998


                                                                      Value (£m) Value (£m) Value (£m)
        Food, Drink and Tobacco                                          1994       1997       1998
        Meat and Meat preparations                                        113.0            152.1             172.1
        Dairy Products and birds’ eggs                                    100.2            160.3             181.5
        Fish, crustaceans, etc.                                             41.5             54.7             66.6
        Fruit and vegetables                                              268.9            295.3             336.9
        Sugars, sugar preparations and honey                                80.9           110.4              87.3
        Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and                                    131.0            155.8             179.1
        manufactures thereof
        Beverages                                                         165.9            225.7             270.1
        Tobacco and tobacco manufactures                                    42.8             50.8             52.3
        Textiles and Clothing
        Articles of apparel; clothing accessories                         522.2            713.5             802.7
        Footwear                                                          190.7            164.6             178.6
                                                                        1,657.1         2,084.2           2,327.2
        Source: Trade Statistics, CSO, 1998.

The data in Table 3.20 cannot be compared directly with the data in Table 3.19, as the
classifications used for the two tables are slightly different10 However, based on the two
tables, and other research undertaken for this study, a number of points can be made
about specific manufacturing links to retail11:

•    Household consumption of meat accounts for over £800m in Ireland. Virtually all of the
     fresh meat is sourced from producers in Ireland and Northern Ireland as is the vast
     majority of meat products.

•    In the dairy sector, virtually all of the £250m worth of consumer milk sold annually is
     sourced in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Less perishable items, such as ice cream and
     cheeses, are also imported from Britain and other countries.

•    The retail market for fish was estimated at about £75m in 1997. Of this, the fresh fish
     market, accounting for approximately 50% of the retail fish market, was supplied
     almost exclusively by Irish and Northern Irish producers. The frozen fish market was
     shared by domestic producers and importers, with imports of prepared and preserved
     fish significant for some species (e.g. tuna) and crustaceans.

•    In the ‘other food products’ sector, most bread and cakes sold through Irish retailers
     are made in Ireland. In the biscuits and confectionery product areas, the markets are
     shared by Irish and UK manufacturers. The vast majority of tea products are produced
     by Irish manufacturers based on imported tea.

•    The proportion of fruit and vegetable products which retailers buy from domestic
     manufacturers varies considerably by product and season. Some fruit and vegetable




10 The Census of Industrial Production is compiled using the NACEclassifications. The Trade Statistics are compiled using
   SITC classifications.
11 These points draw on data from Checkout Ireland, Yearbook 1998.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                               Page 55



    products are, by their nature, imported into Ireland. Strawberries are the dominant soft
    fruit product and Irish producers have a strong share in the summer months. Data in
    relation to apples indicate that 8.5% of eating apples sold by retailers in 1997 were
    imported. The vegetable market (£162m in 1997) has a strong Irish presence for part
    of the year.

•   In the beverages market, the beer market (worth £1.85 billion) is mainly served by Irish
    manufacturers. The exception is the niche market premium bottled beers, which are
    mostly imported. Irish manufacturers also have a majority of the spirits market (worth
    £520m), although this varies by spirit type. Wines (worth about £150m in 1997) are
    imported. The majority of tobacco products sold in Ireland are manufactured in Ireland.

•   Irish clothing firms sell about £100m of goods in Ireland, of which 80% is to retailers.
    However, this accounts for only 14% of the clothing sold by retailers to consumers in
    Ireland.

Therefore, while a precise figure cannot be identified for purchases of goods for resale by
Irish retailers from Irish manufacturers, it is clear that this multi-billion pound link is of
considerable importance to Irish manufacturers.

3.6.11 Irish Market Dependence of Irish Manufacturing Employment

The dependence of Irish manufacturing on the Irish retail market is shown in table 3.21.
There are approximately 1,000 Irish-owned food firms in Ireland employing nearly 32,500
people. 640 of these firms employ less than 19, with an average of 7 employees per firm
and a total employment of 4,200. Based on the Forfás IEE Survey data, for Irish-owned
food firms employing greater than 19, 55% of their output is sold on the Irish market, with
associated employment of approximately 16,000. About 40% of firms employing greater
than 19 export more than half their production and almost 50% export less than a quarter
of their production.


TABLE 3.21:          Food and Clothing Sector Destination of Output 1997
                    (Employment >19)

Sector             Total          Employment        Total   Exports     UK        EU       World
                 Employment       in firms > 19   Sales £m* % Sales* Exports % Exports % Exports %
                    1997                                               Total     Total     Total
                                                                      Exports   Exports   Exports

Food
- Overseas           8,148            8,022         2,270        82%     38%      30%       33%

Food – Irish       33,208           29,243          5,991        45%     42%      43%       29%

Clothing &
Footwear
– Overseas           2,395            2,334           108        94%     48%      32%       23%

Clothing
& Footwear
– Irish              6,543            5,560           230        56%     73%      33%       12%

* Sales and Export data relate to firms employing greater than 19 only
Source: Employment Survey, Forfás. Irish Economy Expenditures Survey, Forfás.
Page 56                                       THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND




In the Irish-owned Clothing & Footwear sector, 44% of output is sold on the Irish market,
with associated employment of 2,400 among firms employing greater than 19. 62% of
these firms export less than half their output indicating a high dependence on the Irish
retail sector as an outlet to consumer markets.

3.6.12 Purchases of Other Goods and Services

This section relates to goods and services purchased by retailers but not sold on to
consumers. These fall into a number of categories. While data is not available to quantify
these purchases by type of good/service, in 1997, the total expenditure was £1.19m, an
estimated 14% of total retail purchases 12 . Given the growth of the sector in recent years,
this figure is likely to have been over £1 billion in 1996.

These figures relate to purchases of both Irish and foreign goods and services, and there
is no breakdown of this. However, the nature of the purchases means that the majority are
likely to represent linkages to other parts of the Irish economy.

Rents on Retail Property

Retail rent per square foot varies considerably, with key factors being location and size of
retail unit. Sherry Fitzgerald data13 for rents in Dublin in 1996 showed Zone A rents (for the
part of the outlet closest to the entrance) of up to £170 per sq. ft. in Grafton Street. Of
course, Grafton Street rents are untypical as it is an established prime retail location.
Average rents for a number of shopping centres around Ireland are shown in Table 3.22.

        TABLE 3.22:              Rent per Square Foot
                                 - Selected Shopping Centres (1997)

        Shopping Centre                     Location                      Unit Size     Rent
                                             (Sq. ft.)                     (Sq. ft.)

        Dunnes Stores                      Portlaoise                        1,020      £6.50
        Abbey Centre                       Enniscorthy                        600       £8.00
        Boyne                              Drogheda                           600      £10.00
        Eyre Square                        Galway                             913      £23.00
        Courtyard                          Letterkenny                        700      £23.00
        Tallaght                           Dublin                               -      £30.00
        Crescent                           Limerick                           750      £30.00
        Blackrock                          Dublin                               -      £40.00
        Merchant’s Quay                    Cork                               600      £55.00

        Source: Centre for Retail Studies, The Irish Shopping Centre Digest (1997),
        Dublin data from Sherry Fitzgerald Research, Commercial Overview (May 1997)




12 Estimated in the CSO’s Annual Services Inquir y, 1997, excluding the motor trade.
13 Supplied by Sherry Fitzgerald Research.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                             Page 57



Logistics

The transportation of goods to retail premises is an important retail link to the wider
economy. Again, there are no specific data on the value of this link. However, a 1995
report by Goodbody Stockbrokers on food retailing in Ireland concluded that “the cost of
logistics in Ireland is higher than for other countries due to a combination of factors”.

Three reasons were given for this conclusion:

•   the relatively poor condition of the Irish road network, which increases transport time;

•   the low absolute population, which results in a relatively large proportion of groceries
    being imported;

•   additional costs associated with imported goods due to air/ferry freight being more
    expensive than overland transport.

The estimated logistics expenditure by Irish food retailers as a proportion of turnover is
shown in Table 3.23.

    TABLE 3.23:             Food Retail Logistics Expenditure,
                            Selected Countries, 1991 (% of sales)

    Country          Total       Storage        Inventory     Transport      Administration

    France            7.2          2.7             2.0            2.1              0.4
    UK                5.2          1.9             1.1            1.8              0.4
    Germany           6.3          2.9             1.1            2.1              0.2
    Italy             6.8          1.0             1.4            3.5              0.9
    Netherlands       4.6          1.7             0.6            2.1              0.2
    Spain             4.7          1.5             1.5            1.4              0.3
    Average           5.8          1.9             1.3            2.2              0.4
    Ireland           6.8          1.6             1.4            3.4              0.4

    Source: Goodbody Stockbrokers Research, Food Retailing in the Republic of Ireland

If this figure of 6.8% of sales were true across all Irish retail, it would imply expenditure of
over £600m in 1991 on logistics services. Of the different logistics expenses shown, most
would be incurred in Ireland. For imported goods, some of the transport and storage
expenses would be incurred to non-Irish service suppliers.
Page 58                              THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



3.7       Competitiveness of the Retail Sector

The competitiveness of Irish retailers is examined from the perspectives of profitability,
productivity and a number of qualitative measures.

3.7.1     Profitability

Retailers in Ireland do not publish profit figures that are comparable to UK and European
data. Table 3.24 shows the estimated operating margins for Irish retailers in the context of
actual margins for selected foreign retailers. The data on Ireland are derived from
interviews with industry specialists and are likely to be on the lower range of the estimate.
The estimated operating margins for non-Irish retailers covers the periods 1996 and 1997.

        TABLE 3.24         Retailer Profitability, 1997

        Company                 Country               Operating Margin
        Tesco                   UK                           5.1%
        Kwik Save               UK                           4.0%
        Asda                    UK                           4.0%
        Stewarts                Northern Ireland             2.5%
        Irish Retailers         Ireland                   3.5% - 5.0%
        Carrefour               France                       3.2%
        Ava                     Germany                      2.6%
        Ahold                   Netherlands                  2.9%

        Source: KPMG from company reports and industry interviews

The UK grocery business has traditionally been much more profitable than other markets.
Historically, UK retailers in food recorded net margins of the order of 8% compared to 3%
in Western Europe and 1% to 2% in the US. The Office of Fair Trading in the UK initiated
a review of the trading practices of the UK multiples to inquire into these high margins. The
high margins are attributed to a number of factors:-

•     increasing consolidation of retail locations and development of large regional retail
      centres;

•     their large scale which gives them substantial purchasing power and hence the ability
      to exert significant pressure on suppliers and through below cost selling;

•     improvements in logistics in recent years, particularly the development of central
      distribution;

•     the relatively high volumes of ‘own-label’ sales;

•     the addition of non food sales; and

•     the relative absence of hard discounters and international competition.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 59



UK multiples are regarded as innovative in retailing practices and the development of new
areas such as the introduction of financial services; they are also reported to be increasing
spending on IT and on a range of customer oriented programmes such as their loyalty
card schemes. The costs of such developments have combined to drive net margins
down, as illustrated by the performance of Tesco, the leading UK retailer.

        Table 3.25:       Tesco Operating Margin (UK)

        Year           1993/94      1994/95        1995/96        1996/97        1997/98
        Margin %          7.0          6.2            6.2            5.8           5.1

        Source: KPMG from company reports and industry interviews

In cash terms however, Tesco’s profits have grown in the UK from £600 million in 1994/95
to £912 million in 1997/98, although overall operating margins have declined between
1993 and 1998.

While the major UK grocery retailers have traditionally been more profitable than their
counterparts in other countries, an analysis by Deutsche Morgan Grenfell of 1997 results,
published in 1998, showed the Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) for various countries
to be as follows:

British (6 Companies)                16%
U.S. (9 Companies)                   21%
French (8 Companies)                 20%
Belgium (3 Companies)                24%

This study showed a similar pattern to other research, that although UK grocers are more
profitable than those of other countries, the higher capital investment involved in th UK
means that the UK retailers do not necessarily achieve higher returns on investment.

3.7.2    Revenue Per Square Foot
Data collected by the Institute of Grocery Distribution in the UK indicates that turnover per
square foot per annum for major retailers is as follows:

        TABLE 3.26:       Sales per Square Foot - UK Food Retailers, 1996

                                                            Sales Per Sq. Foot
                                                            per Annum - 1996
        Tesco                                                    £1,026
        Sainsbury                                                 £972
        Safeway                                                   £771

        Source: Institute for Grocery Distribution, 1996

There is no comparable data for Ireland. However, published estimates on the major
multiples turnover, coupled with estimates of average store sizes, indicates that the
turnover per square foot for Irish multiple retailers is between £550 and £700 per square
foot per annum. This would put the best Irish multiple retailers close to the Safeway level,
but somewhat distant from the Tesco and Sainsbury UK levels. However, population
densities are lower in Ireland and there may be wide variations between the different
regions in Ireland, and the lower population densities may be a major factor behind the
differences shown.

Data for individual retailers indicates that annual growth rates in sales per square foot
have varied between 1% and 8% per annum. Industry estimates are that Irish food
retailers have performed well in comparison with international trends.
Page 60                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



In the Department Stores sector, the leading Irish stores compare favourably with their UK
counterparts. The key data for the UK is shown in table 3.27

        TABLE 3.27:       UK Department Store Sales

    Year               Number of             Sales          Sales Area          Sales
                        Stores                £M            000 Sq. Ft.        £/Sq. Ft
    1991/92                50              42,000             21,000             214
    1994/95                55              49,602             24,500             221

        Source: Corporate Intelligence on Retailing, 1998

This Corporate Intelligence on Retailing survey above covers operations in the UK with
sales in excess of £3 million per annum. Irish department stores are generally located in
the major population areas and the lower population density in Ireland may be less of a
factor in this sector than in the food sector. The figures shown in this section are averages
over all stores and for a year. Particular stores in prime locations can exceed these
averages by substantial amounts.

Data provided by management of individual department stores in Ireland, that were
interviewed during this study, indicates that major Irish department stores have turnovers
per square foot which are in excess of the UK levels and in particular cases, are over twice
the UK average. The data provided showed turnovers per square foot in Ireland of
between £250 and £440. Interviewees expressed the view that the most successful UK
department stores in terms of sales per square foot, net margin and sales per employee
are the up-market stand-alone stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum &
Mason. Within the Irish market, the major department stores are more analogous to these
stand-alone stores, than to chains such as John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Consequently, Irish departments stores would be expected to outperform the average
turnover per square foot for the UK industry, given that John Lewis, Debenhams and
House of Fraser together have an estimated 57.5% share of the UK department
store market.


3.7.3     Employee Costs

Based on CSO data, staff costs in retail in Ireland are as set out in 3.28 below;

        TABLE 3.28:       Wages and Salaries as % of Turnover

                                         Turnover      Wages and Salaries            %
        Food and Drink Enterprises       6,858,026            626,584               9.14

        Clothing Retailers
        Textiles and Clothing             739,223              90,243               12.21
        Footwear and Leather              126,452              14,403               11.39

        Source: Annual Services Inquiry 1997, CSO
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 61



It is difficult to provide substantial amounts of comparable data for Irish and other countries
as much of the relevant data for Ireland is not published, and data that is published
sometimes includes non-pay items such as redundancy costs. Published staff cost data
for a range of stores in the UK is shown in table 3.29. It can be seen that Irish retailers fit
into the middle of the following employee cost levels.

                           TABLE 3.29: UK Employee Costs, 1996

                           Employee Costs to Sales - 1996
                           Kwik Save                          6.7%
                           Iceland                            6.8%
                           Tesco                              9.8%
                           Safeway                            9.8%
                           Sainsbury                         11.1%
                           Marks & Spencer                   11.7%
                           Next                             15.9%
                           Burton                           17.0%
                           Laura Ashley                     19.5%
                           Liberty                          21.8%

                           Source: KPMG from company reports
                           and industry estimates

3.7.4   Productivity Measures

In seeking to compare Irish and other country retailers on the basis of productivity, a
number of issues arise:

•   The traditional measure of productivity, i.e., volume or units of output per unit of labour
    input, is difficult to use in the retail sector. There is a number of reasons for this:

    -   It is difficult to obtain published data on suitable measures of output other than
        sales. For example, data on customers served or numbers of items sold is not
        available in sufficient volume to facilitate analysis;

    -   The high level of part-time employment in the sector makes it difficult to measure
        units of labour input;

    -   Employee definitions are not comparable across countries. In the UK for example,
        employee data can include persons working in distribution centres, whereas
        employee data for Ireland may not included such staff;

    -   Price differentials between countries can distort measures such as sales per
        employee.

•   Other potential measures, e.g., sales per labour hour; wage costs per hour; sales per
    customer; sales per checkout; wage costs per hour; items per hour; customers served
    per hour are not measurable using available data.
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For these reasons, measures such as employee costs as a percentage of sales and
turnover per square foot, as shown above, are used as the best available measures of
productivity in the sector.

An analysis of turnover per employee of major retailers in Ireland, in both food and
clothing, shows that there are substantial variations within the country.

        TABLE 3.30:       Turnover per Employee, 1998

        Name                   Turnover        Employees         Turnover
                               1998 £M           No.          £000/Employee         Euros
        Dunnes Stores            1,250            9,500          131,579           167,480
        Tesco Ireland              810          10,000            81,000           103,101
        Primark                    360            3,000          120,000           152,742
        Superquinn                 310            3,250           95,385           121,410
        Roches Stores              250            3,800           65,789            83,740
        Marks & Spencers            110           1,100          100,000           127,285
        Brown Thomas Group           74.6           850           87,765            111,711
        Cleary & Co.                 38             290           32,500            41,368
        Eight to Twelve              65           2,000           32,500            41,368

        Source: Business and Finance, 1999

Care should be taken in interpretating this data, as employee numbers may include staff
engaged in distribution activities, whether in central distribution activities or delivery of
household goods to customers.

Notwithstanding these reservations, it should be noted that retail is a service, and that
some retailers will obtain a competitive advantage by providing a higher level of customer
service than competitors. A higher level of customer service implies a lower level of
productivity if the results of an analysis such as Table 3.30 are used. However, if ratios
such as staff costs to sales were used, such retailers may be very competitive.

3.7.5     Qualitative and Cultural Measures

In terms of revenues per square foot and employee costs, the gap in competitiveness
between Irish and particularly UK retailers appears to be quite small. In terms of
profitability, the differences between Irish and UK retailers appears small at present, but
this is seen by interviewees as possibly a short term situation.
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The relatively high profits of UK retailers is attributed by industry participants to:
• high own-label product volumes among UK food retailers; and
• dominance over the supply chain, which has led to retailer driven cost reductions,
   portions of which have been retained by the retailers.

If UK practices in the food sector are brought into the Irish market, then, in the opinion
of the interviewees, it is very likely that:
• own-label product sales will increase significantly; and,
• retailers will drive the development of a low cost supply chain.
The competitiveness of major Irish food retailers will depend on their ability to respond to
these developments. There are views that Irish retailers are competitive in areas which do
not lend themselves readily to quantitative measures, such as
• category management
• consumer marketing and
• store management.

There is a view that the relationships between Irish retailers and suppliers have not been
as aggressive as those that currently pertain to the UK. There is also a view that UK
retailers have much better developed staff training facilities. Some industry sources
believe that the staff structures of UK retailers are more heavily weighted to professional
staff, rather than shop floor employees, than is the case in Ireland. In particular there is a
view that UK retailers have much greater food technologist resources than Irish retailers
or Irish suppliers.

In certain instances, Irish retailers’ knowledge of their customer bases is regarded as
being greatly superior to that of UK retailers. There is also a view that Irish store
management is superior to that of the UK retail chains. This view is based on the perception
that major UK retailers regard each shop as an entity in a chain supplying a national market
and that therefore UK retailers supply similar goods in a similar manner in all their shops.
On the other hand, the Irish multiples regard each shop as a separate unit supplying
primarily a local market, and the products carried in each outlets are geared to satisfying
that local demand. For this reason, there is a widely held view that individual store
management in Ireland is of a much higher quality than is to be found in UK retailer chains.
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3.8       Future Scenarios

Food Sector


3.8.1     Ownership Concentration in the Food Sector

The acquisition of Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices by Tesco gave it a 25% share of the Irish
grocery market. The stores were acquired from Associated British Foods so there has
been no change in ownership concentration arising from the acquisition, nor has there
been an increase in foreign ownership of Irish retail interests arising from the acquisition.
At present control of these operations is effectively being carried out in Ireland rather than
being centralised to the UK.

The potential entry of other UK multiples such as Safeway or Sainsbury as they have in
the North, into the Irish market coupled with the Tesco acquisition provides a potential
scenario of two or more major UK multiples competing with each other and with
established Irish-owned retail chains for both market share and profit.

Industry participants consider that if Safeway, for example, expands in Ireland, these two
UK multiples could acquire an increased market share for UK owned multiples, but are
likely to be competing with each other for specific market segments and are facing strong
competition from Irish retailers. Marks & Spencer is not regarded as a competitor to these
multiples, although it has announced plans to open new stores in Ireland.

Industry sources regard the possibility of further acquisitions by UK interests as being
limited at present, given the planning limits introduced in mid-1998 as their prefered entry
mode is through large out of town retail units. Joint ventures between Irish and overseas
retailers are regarded as a possibility. The general view is that there is little likelihood of
major acquisitions by existing retailers within the Irish market, and that any major future
developments will involve foreign interests.

From this it may be deduced that a consensus exists that future changes in ownership
concentration will come about from long term competition in the marketplace, and not from
merger and acquisition activity between existing market players.

The views expressed in interviews are that Irish retailers are responding to the competitive
environment by continuing to develop new services, by increasing efficiency throughout
their supply chains and by driving out costs through better stock management, by
developing store management and category management skills and by redeveloping their
stores. Irish retailer competitiveness depends to a large degree on the cost
competitiveness of the supplier and distribution sectors. There is a clear implication that
unless Irish suppliers can provide the necessary goods competitively, Irish retailers will
extend their supply base to other countries rather than accept an un-competitive position

3.8.2     Food Sector Trends – Size of Outlets

The average size of food outlets in this country is increasing. Further large scale
supermarkets are planned to be opened as large scale shopping centres are constructed
both on the perimeter of Dublin city and elsewhere in the country, and the majority of these
developments will be anchored by a food retailer.
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A key issue in any future scenario is the possibility of the introduction of hypermarkets and
superstores into Ireland. Both of these concepts require large scale premises. The
possibility of the construction of such large scale units is dependent upon planning
regulations. A review of these regulations was initiated in 1998 by the Minister for the
Environment and Local Government with a cap of 3,000 square metres placed on retail
developments pending the outcome of this work, and a cap on the maximum size of new
developments has been ordered, pending the outcome of the review.

To date, the tendency in planning has been to attempt to direct development into town
centres rather than suburban or out of town locations. Where out of town developments
were permitted they were often limited in size.

If Irish retailers are to follow international trends and engage in product diversification, it is
likely that supermarkets which intend to do so will need to increase their size. This implies
that there may be substantial expansion, probably entailing refurbishment, in existing
supermarkets throughout the country in the coming years, so that they can accommodate
new product ranges.

3.8.3   Private Brand Development

In Ireland, own-label brands traditionally account for a comparatively small percentage of
the food market and have traditionally had an image as being of considerably lower quality
than manufacturer brands. This situation is changing now with higher quality retailer
brands being introduced into the market. The major retailers are developing their ranges
of own brand goods and introducing them into their shops at present.

In the medium term it is likely that indigenous retailers will continue to expand their own-
label ranges and increase development and improvement of such products.

The consensus amongst interviewees is that own-label sales in Ireland could increase
from the current level of about 15% to the order of 20% to 25% of grocery sales in the near
future, and remain at close to that level subsequently. The view is that own-label sales in
Ireland will not reach the UK levels of up to 50% of food sales.

The main basis for this view is that many Irish consumers will continue to show a
preference for branded Irish products over own-label goods. Irish consumers are regarded
as having a preference for higher quality than their UK counterparts and some own-label
products developed for the UK are unlikely to gain acceptance in this country. In addition,
some observers believe that retailers in Ireland will continue to supply branded products
in some segments e.g., milk, which are substantially own-label in the UK

There is much speculation on the likelihood of the introduction of the COD (cheapest on
display) own-label category into Ireland. COD is seen as primarily a response to
competition from hard discounters, and is not therefore seen as a requirement for the Irish
market. However, COD can help to position other own-label products at the premium end
of the market, and thus they might help to develop the own-label segment in Ireland. There
is no consensus on whether COD products will become a part of the Irish market.

3.8.4   The Future for the Independents

The independent retailers have generally suffered a decline in numbers with the
introduction of large scale multiple retailers. However, their problems have also been
caused by the introduction of a new competitor, the forecourt retailer. There will always be
a place for the independent retailer if they can find their niche in the marketplace.
Page 66                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



To do so they may need to differentiate themselves from the larger operators by finding
either a geographic area not covered by the multiples, or a product offer not currently
available in that location. Some may be more suitable to speciality food stores than
general stores. They must be open to the possibility of operating longer hours and
providing a high level of service. Their willingness to identify market niches and act upon
them will be the difference between those who survive, those who flourish and those who
fall by the wayside.

The consensus of opinion in the industry is that, in the medium term, it is virtually certain
that the number of independent stores will continue to fall, particularly if the major retailers
adopt a range of formats, varying in size to suit particular towns or geographic areas. It is
not possible to predict how much the number of independent food retailers will fall by,
however, it is likely that increased competition among the major retailers will accelerate
the recent rate of decline. This could reduce the number of independents from 7,872 in
1998 to the order of 7,200 by the year 2002, and a continuous reduction in the years
following immediately.

Table 3.31 illustrates a potential scenario derived from the interviews held with retail sector
interests.

                 TABLE 3.31: Retail Food Shop Numbers: 1998-2002

                                                   1998        2002
                           Multiples                157         190
                           Symbol Groups          1,152       1,300
                           Independents           7,872       7,200
                           Total                  9,181       8,690

                           Source: KPMG, 1998

A key element in determining the likely future number of grocery shops, is the impact
of Ireland’s relatively low population density on the shop sector. Data supplied by AC
Nielsen shows that Great Britain has 39,183 grocery stores supplying a population of
58.7 million, whereas Ireland has 9,454 shops supplying a population of the order of 4
million. However, the population density of the UK is 243 people per sq. Km., compared
to Ireland’s 51 persons per sq. Km. While no formal assessment of the impact of lower
population densities on retail outlets numbers has been sourced, it is logical to postulate
that low densities will increase the retail shop numbers, though it is not possible to
quantify the impact.

Competition amongst the major retailers is likely to have a negative impact on the market
share and numbers of small independent retailers in Ireland.

The numbers of symbol group outlets could fall in the face of competition from the
multiples, but that some independents will in turn join the symbol groups to maintain
competitiveness and consequently the symbol groups will more or less maintain their
existing numbers of outlets.
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3.8.5   The Future for the Supermarkets

Experience from other EU countries indicates that, to be successful, supermarkets will
need to provide a retail offering which is tailored to the needs of its customers. To this
effect, it is anticipated that a range of formats similar to those of Tesco, described in 2.3.1
above, are likely to emerge. These formats are:

1. top-up shops in town centre or convenient sites;
2. compact stores in edge of town locations or market town locations;
3. stand alone petrol station convenience stores with wider than usual
   products including own brands.

It is the potential proliferation of such a range of formats that will accelerate the level of
concentration in the Irish market and provide intense competition for the existing
independent outlets.

3.8.6   Discounters in Ireland

Although there is a divergence of views regarding the likelihood of Irish consumers
accepting the hard discount format, there is no evidence to point to the fact that the format
will not be successful and so Ireland is likely to be the target of one or more of the large
discounters within the medium term.

The views of interviewees is that historically Irish consumers have not supported the
hard discount formats and, in addition, the relative size of Crazy Prices (8.8% market
share), which is seen as a ‘soft’ discounter, indicates that hard discounters are unlikely
to succeed in a very competitive market. On the other hand, some industry sources
regard it as inevitable that a hard discounter e.g., Aldi, operating in the UK, may seek to
enter the Irish market.

If discounting is introduced into Ireland, the experience of other countries shows that it is
likely to hit certain sectors more severely than others. These include dry goods, pet food
and confectionery in particular. However, as regards competition with established
supermarkets, there is not necessarily a direct conflict as, to a large extent, they operate
in different sub-sectors.

The traditional supermarkets will still offer well known brands not usually sold in discount
outlets. Also, the one stop shopping factor means that many people will still want to do all
their shopping in one location and that is more likely to be a traditional supermarket.

Traditional supermarkets are also likely to respond with their own discounted brands and
economy ranges, as has happened in the UK.

Case Study - Aldi

In the space of 36 years, the German chain Aldi which opened in the Irish market in
November 1999, has risen from the opening of its first shop to become the largest “hard
discount” chain in the world, with annual sales estimated at US$32 billion. Aldi does not
disclose details of its financial performance or internal operations. However, a recently
published book by a former manager (“Konsequent einfach Die Ald” - Erfolgstory: Dieter
Brandes) gives an account of the company and its operations.
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Aldi focuses on maintaining a low cost base and its staffing costs are said to be 3% of
sales, compared to an average of 13% for other German retailers. Low staff costs are
achieved through minimal service and high productivity.

However staff pay is amongst the highest among German retailers - check-out operators
memorise product price codes to provide efficient check out service while saving the
expense of bar coding scanners. Aldi’s low cost formula enables them to undercut nearly
all its competitors in terms of price.

An element of Aldi’s formula is its relatively small range of product lines. Aldi shops
typically carry 600 to 750 products whereas some competitors’ stores may carry 20,000
lines and some competing chains may carry 50,000 lines through its various stores. The
average product line has sales of about US$16 million, according to Brandes, giving
considerable scope for low cost manufacturing and also providing Aldi with substantial
leverage over suppliers.

Several of Aldi’s own-label products are manufactured by leading international suppliers
such as Nestle and Unilever. Such companies have, in close co-operation with Aldi,
developed highly efficient logistics systems, based on moving large volumes of product,
and highly effective quality control systems. Both these elements are crucial to retaining
consumer loyalty and maintaining a low cost base.

Aldi has expanded internationally, into France, Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK and the
US amongst others. The company has shown some signs of expanding its product range
in recent years, introducing some frozen food and pharmaceutical lines. These product
line developments have led commentators to suggest that Aldi is under threat from
competitors offering wider product choices. The product range expansion in Aldi is limited
to date and, as yet, does not appear to detract from the Aldi formula of stripped-down,
limited assortment retailing with a focus on maintaining a low cost base.

3.8.7     Forecourt Convenience Stores

Forecourt retailing is developing rapidly in Ireland through the development of linkages
between petrol companies and symbol groups and the branding of the forecourt shops,
e.g., Texaco/SPAR, Shell Select, Mace/Maxol and Tedcastle/Londis.

The development of forecourt retailing is also a key element of the European wide strategy
of major petrol companies, who have seen hypermarkets gain substantial petrol market
shares in the UK (22.3% market share) and France (48.9% share). The response of the
petrol companies involves high levels of customer service, in particular the forecourt shop
offering. It is likely that Ireland will follow other European country trends in this regard.

Data from the UK shows that tobacco accounts for 40% of forecourt sales (excluding
petrol) and lottery tickets for a further 11%. Groceries account for 10% of forecourt shop
sales. The new forecourt facilities are likely to focus on top-up shoppers and impulse
buyers, and in urban areas, may develop into convenience stores offering a range of fresh
and bakery products as well as traditional groceries.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 69



Clothing Sector

3.8.8    Concentration in the Clothing Sector

In the Republic of Ireland Dunnes Stores and Penneys have a large percentage of the
lower end of the clothing sector, while the department stores have traditionally dominated
the upper end of the market.

In the short term, concentration in the clothing sector is likely to be linked to
internationalisation. Concentration is expected to increase as new retailers from Europe
enter the Irish market and generally open a number of stores. These retailers are likely to
take up space offered in the large shopping centres that continue to be constructed
throughout the country. These shopping centres provide perhaps the easiest opportunities
for foreign retailers to obtain large units with car parking, in both town centre and
suburban locations.

New shopping centres introduce the opportunity for smaller scale multiples such as
Monsoon, Oasis, Next and others to expand throughout the country. As they do this, the
process of concentration will continue into the short and medium term.

However, the independent retailers are still strong in this sector, particularly outside
Dublin, in smaller towns, and are likely to remain so, though their business volumes will
diminish to some degree.

3.8.9    Internationalisation in the Clothing Sector

In Ireland internationalisation in this sector commenced with the gradual movement of
mainly UK multiples into the market, with some moving in as concessions within
department stores to test the market. However, there has been a rapid influx of UK fashion
retailers in recent years, so much so that relatively few indigenous retailers now remain
on the main shopping streets of Ireland’s largest cities.

Significant UK retailers include Marks & Spencer, BHS, Next plc, Foster Trading Co.,
Debenhams plc and Burton Group plc. Ireland has also seen the introduction of UK niche
retailers such as Tie Rack and Sock Shop, and recently US stores such as Gymboree,
specialising in baby and children’s clothing.

The proliferation of UK retailers is likely to continue in the short term as more local fashion
retailers cannot afford the price competition from foreign retailers for prime high street
locations. The spread of retailers from other countries throughout the Republic has been
linked very closely with the spread of large and medium sized shopping centres. In almost
every large shopping centre constructed in the past five years foreign retailers have
opened units. This spread of foreign retailers outside the main cities and into the smaller
towns will continue as towns such as Athlone, Sligo and Letterkenny acquire new
shopping centres.

3.8.10    Uniformity in the Clothing Sector

As concentration increases and European retailers expand here, the high streets
throughout Ireland will continue to develop a significant degree of uniformity. Many high
streets in Ireland now include a Next, Principles, The Body Shop, Bennetton, Bally,
Dunnes Stores, Penneys or other department stores. It is only the latter three stores that
makes Ireland different to the retail mix which might be encountered in almost any English
high street.
Page 70                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



There may be a move against this trend, with customers perhaps tiring of similar stores
wherever they go and seeking out a more unusual retail mix. However, the power of these
retailers together is a formidable attraction to shoppers.

3.8.11    Clothing Sector Trends – Specialists vs Generalists

Specialisation has hit the European clothing and footwear sector so that shops can be
classed as leisure clothing shops, business clothing shops, up market clothing shops for
25 to 40 year old women and so on.

In other countries many types of specialist store now exist. The first are the concept
stores such as Benetton, Bally, Stefanel and Aquascutum, who specialise in a narrow
segment, selling mainly luxury goods and relying on their own brands. These have
already been introduced to Ireland. Increasing homogeneity of purchasing patterns and
culture in general across Europe will support further expansion of these and other
international brands.

A trend related to increasing specialisation is the increasing demand for designer label
brands some of which are exclusive such as Christian Dior and Gucci, but others such as
Levis and Nike are also important. The trend towards buying brands has increased,
especially in the casual and sports/leisure clothes and footwear sectors in this country.

The selling of a range of brands at lower than usual prices from factory outlet centres,
such as those planned for Killarney, Dundalk and Naas will become a feature of the
Irish market and may become a very important element of the future retail mix. The
Killarney project has planning permission, but no definite starting dates have been
fixed for these outlets.

However, major new competition from specialist retailers is likely to arise in this country in
the medium term, if the experience of other countries is repeated here. This will include
the introduction of the efficient large-scale discounters such as Wal-Mart. The trend
elsewhere has been towards a growing numbers of non-food discount stores which
compete in many sectors of the retail market.

3.8.12    The Future of Department Stores

Problems remain for department stores into the late 1990s. The value of their sites may
prove to be a considerable attraction for an international chain store. Also, they face
considerable pressure from a new concept which has not yet been introduced into the Irish
Republic – the discount department store. Stores such as Wal-Mart and Kmart, which are
discount department stores in the US, may be opened in this country and this may prove
to be a significant competitive threat to traditional department stores.

However while it is most likely that there will be casualties among traditional department
stores, they still have significant advantages. Department stores will become even more
valued as the sameness of retail outlets spreads throughout Europe as they usually have
a unique character and individuality. Industry views are that department stores, particularly
up-market stores, have highly developed customer loyalties. By providing a high quality
mix of fashion, food (in some cases) and household products, department stores have
attractions that neither a range of independent stores nor the clothing multiples can
emulate. It is also suggested that the ageing of the population will produce natural
customers for department stores.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 71



Furthermore, they do have an advantage over smaller, conventional stores when
attempting to provide a new retail mix, as they can experiment more easily with
concessions and can have the space to introduce new products or restaurants, and
fuller service.

A potential threat to department stores may be the departure of concession holders to
independent high street outlets. However, the view of the industry is that this threat is
relatively small for two reasons. Firstly, few customers of concession shops restrict their
shopping to that one area of a department store. They tend be customers of the store in
general, rather than of the concession in particular. Secondly, leading department
stores are reducing the amount of space let to concessions, preferring the direct
managed structure.

3.8.13    The Emergence of Factory Outlet Centres

Factory outlet centres comprise groups of manufacturers who trade from individual units
on a common site. This is a new distribution channel whereby manufacturers sell their own
brand of merchandise at prices significantly below the recommended retail level. High
fashion clothing is the most important item sold in most factory outlet centres.

It is probable that there will be an Irish market for factory outlet centres because there are
always consumers who are value conscious and do not worry over having last year’s lines
if they are brand names. It seems likely that Irish factory retailers will construct centres
which are similar to those in the US in terms of attractiveness and facilities. Such centres
are retail stores in their own right, rather than annexes to factories.

However there is concern regarding the number and size of factory outlet centres that the
country could accommodate. It is suggested that the UK is capable of supporting
approximately 15 factory outlet centres. In this country it is likely that no more than three
to four centres will open. This could be increased, however, if the assumption that
manufacturers will not produce lines specifically for factory outlet centres, proves
incorrect.

3.8.14    Retail Warehouse Parks

Retail warehousing commenced in the UK as individual retail warehouses and progressed
to retail warehouse parks with multiple entry into the market. Growth of retail warehousing
has been significant in the UK since the 1980s. The development of retail warehousing in
Ireland followed the UK example, commencing with individual retail warehouses and
moving on to retail warehouse parks in the early 1990s. There are now five retail parks in
the Republic of Ireland and a large number of retail warehouses. There is also a proposed
retail warehouse park scheme for Cork and Blanchardstown. These schemes rely heavily
on Sunday trading.

It seems likely that increased growth in this sector will be experienced and that at least
one further retail warehouse park will be developed in each of the five largest centres of
population throughout the country.
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4.0       SUPPLY CHAIN IMPLICATIONS

4.1       Summary

This chapter assesses the implications of the changes in the retail supply chain for Irish
retailers, suppliers, distributors and consumers and sets out possible strategies and
competitive responses for retailers, suppliers and distributors.

4.1.1     Implications for Retailers

The key implication for Irish retailers is the need to develop internal operations and
capabilities so as to remain competitive and grow market share in the Irish retail market.
Competitive responses need to include:

•     Increased investment, innovation and development of new larger stores, or
      redevelopment of existing stores to facilitate diversification into new products and to
      increase efficiencies;

•     Diversification into new businesses, possibly with joint venture partners;

•     Development of more influence and control over retail supply chains and development
      of supply chain management practices and processes such as ECR;

•     Continued development of customer service, including electronic shopping options,
      home shopping and delivery;

•     Extending ranges of own-label products.

These developments will require investment both in new and existing stores, in
information technology, and in the relevant people skills and management techniques, to
develop the own-label products and exploit new business opportunities.

4.1.2     Implications for Distributors

The distribution sector will see a transformation from the traditional system, where a
supplier services a range of stores, to one where a small number of distributors supply a
dedicated service to a single chain or a small number of retail chains, giving rise to
rationalisation in the distribution sector. This will improve the efficiency and costs of supply
to major retailers. It will also have significant implications for smaller retailers, if the
diversion of larger retailer volumes into dedicated distributors renders the remaining
distribution network of suppliers uneconomic. Alternative competitive structures, e.g., local
distribution agencies, based on existing cash and carries, may need to rapidly emerge.

4.1.3     Implications for Suppliers

There is an urgent need for suppliers to assess their ability to meet the requirements of
retailers for competitive supply into the future and for a focused agency response to assist
Irish suppliers develop their capability, capacity and competitiveness for supply.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 73



Specifically:

•   Branded product suppliers need a continuous focus on product innovation,
    differentiation and marketing to ensure their branded products are ‘must carry’ lines;

•   There is a need for an increase in the capacity of Irish suppliers to supply ‘own-label’
    products competitively, for example, through strategic repositioning, increasing
    operational efficiencies, increasing scale, reducing product lines, forming value-added
    partnerships with other suppliers, productivity improvement agreements and training;

•   Given the high barriers to supplying existing product lines, significant resources will
    require to be devoted to proactive new product development, in particular, for own-
    label products, drawing on the market research of the multiples and national food
    research bodies and based on international developments;

•   Rapid adoption of retailer-determined quality production and management systems is
    required;

•   Information and communications technology systems and capabilities for supply chain
    and logistics management will require to be upgraded to be compatible with the
    electronic data interchange and systems requirements of national and international
    retailers;

•   Suppliers will need to undertake a serious review of the economics of their distribution
    systems and strategies in the context of the move to centralised distribution. It is
    estimated that almost 50 per cent of food distribution in Ireland may be centralised
    over the next 3-4 years.

4.1.4   National Implications of Retail Trends

The implications of the expected changes are shown in Table 4.1.
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TABLE 4.1:          Summary of Implications of Structural
                    Changes in Ireland



                 Potential Benefits                              Challenges/Costs

   Retailers
   •  Opportunities for internationalisation         •   Increased competition in price and
   •      Opportunities for niche retailers and          quality
          concept/lifestyle stores                   •   Increased pressure on independents
   •      Higher levels of quality and product       •   Contraction of distribution infrastructure
          innovation from suppliers                      for independents
                                                     •   Ability to respond to price wars


   Suppliers
   •      Access to international supply chains of   •   Increased competition for supply
          multiples through back loading
                                                     •   Increased power of retailers
   •      Potential for competitive supply in own-
          label products                             •   Capacity for bulk supply a prerequisite
   •      Opportunities in cross-group supply        •   Requirement for innovative product
                                                         development
                                                     •   Increased pressure on quality and price

   Distributors
   •      Potential to gain single large contracts   •   Loss of control of supply chain
          for multiples
                                                     •   Job losses of up to 2,000
   •      Opportunities to be Irish partner in
          international retail supply chains

   Consumers
   •      Increased price and quality competition    •   Social costs from the closure of
   •      Increased choice and convenience               independents in small towns, villages
   •      Increased service and added value              and rural Ireland
          services such as loyalty cards             •   Growing level of sameness in retail
                                                         outlets

   Nationally
   •      Benefit of £150m from increased            •   Repatriation of profits
          efficiencies in distribution
                                                     •   Possible job losses resulting from
   •      Dampened inflation by up to 3%                 productivity gains and centralisation
          incrementally                                  of functions
   •      Increased investment in new and            •   Growing level of sameness on
          existing outlets                               streets/threat to tourism
   •      Significant increase in technology
          deployment in the sector
   •      Potential for early leadership in
          electronic retailing
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                            Page 75



4.2     Implications for Retailers

Introduction

This Chapter assesses the implications of the major changes in retail supply chains for
retailers, distributors, suppliers and consumers.

In Chapter 2, the current trends in retail development internationally were discussed. It
was noted that developments in four directions are taking place simultaneously. These are
in the structure and formats of retailing, in diversification, supply chain dominance and
improved service, as illustrated in Figure 4.1.

FIGURE 4.1: Retail Strategic Directions

                                       Structure Format




Improved Service                          Retailers                            Diversification




                                  Supply Chain Dominance

The implications of these trends for retailers in the context of the current and future
scenarios in Ireland are discussed below.

4.2.1   Trend to larger size and specialisation

The trend to larger sized retail units was noted in Chapter 2 above and the statistical data
presented in this report shows scope in Ireland for the emergence of larger sized retail
units comparable to those in other European markets and also for the development of the
range of formats, to suit particular local markets.

Retailers in Ireland will need to continue to develop a retail structure that will enable them
to be successful. For large retailers, particularly in the food sector, this is likely to require
investment in new larger stores and a refinement of existing stores, perhaps into a range
of formats to suit the market needs of their various locations.

At present, developments in Ireland, particularly very large retail units, are controlled by
the planning regulations. These regulations mean that establishing hypermarkets or very
large stores are unlikely to be developed in Ireland in the short term at least. This will
mean competing with the existing stock of retail units and redeveloping these units as
required, together with developing new stores, some of which may be considered to be
sub-optimal in size.
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At the other end of the scale, opportunities will arise for specialist retailers to emerge to
satisfy new consumer needs. A key driving force in the current retail environment is the
desire for convenience which is satisfied in a number of ways including:

•    easy to access locations;
•    extended opening hours;
•    prepared foods and ready to serve meals;
•    increased range of disposable products; and
•    increased range of services offered by retailers.

Specialisation is increasingly evident in the fashion, clothing and footwear sectors, in
particular through focusing on customer segments or lifestyles. Specialisation is also
apparent in personal service retailing, with new prepared food formats for example. New
product retail opportunities are also emerging, such as retail telephone shops, a concept
that may not have been foreseen some five years ago.

Retailers will increasingly need to sustain high levels of investment into the future and
continue to expand in new locations.

The trend to larger sized retail units has implications for the retail supply chain. It is likely
to mean that the total number of outlets to be serviced will fall, and that volumes being
delivered to the larger units will increase. At present many large stores suffer from delivery
congestion to varying degrees. Increased volumes of goods are likely to lead to the pre-
consolidation of loads, which will drive the distribution structure in Ireland further in the
direction of the structure in the UK, which is heavily dependent on centralised distribution.

For the general public, the key implication of large retail units would be the opportunity for
retailers to increase their product ranges and provide ‘one stop’ shopping.

Industry sources indicate that an increase in retail unit size, and a corresponding increase in
shelf space will be used to expand the product ranges offered, rather than to provide more
shelf space for existing products, thus increasing competitive pressures on suppliers.

4.2.2     Diversification

The trend of diversification in the retail sector is creating new competitive pressures as the
leading retailers engage in:

1.        diversification into new products;
2.        diversification into new business; and
3.        diversification into new markets.

The major constraint on diversification by retailers into new product areas is the availability
of shelf space to carry and merchandise those products. This may require either a
rationalisation of existing products and replacement with new ones, or the addition of new
retail space. In general, diversification into new products has the least barriers to entry of
the three options as it implies little change to existing structures, either to the stores or to
the buying and logistic structures. Where space constraints exist for retailers, the
development of larger stores may need to be considered to facilitate diversification into
new products.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 77



Diversification into new businesses, such as the move by retailers in the UK into retail
financial services is more difficult, as it generally requires a different range of skills and
capabilities on the part of the retailer. Such skills can be acquired through joint ventures
with other parties as it can significantly reduce barriers to entry and can open new markets
for both partners to the joint venture.

While the diversification by retailers into financial services in Ireland is already underway,
there is doubt in the industry as to the likelihood of UK retailers offering financial services
in Ireland from their UK base, unless and until Britain joins the European Monetary Union
and exchange rate risks are eliminated. Irish retailers will probably eventually provide a
range of retail banking services, most likely as agents for retail banks.

Internationalisation by retailers and diversification into other countries can be problematic
as it may often require a host of new suppliers and new supply chains to be established,
as well as identifying the needs of consumers in the new locations. Retailers overcome
these problems by encouraging existing suppliers to supply their international operations.

Some Irish retailers have already engaged in overseas diversification, such as Dunnes
Stores in Great Britain, Musgraves in Spain and BWG in the UK, and by specialist clothing
and food retailers into the UK also. The Irish pub theme is developing strongly in Europe.
It indicates that an attractive retailing concept can develop overseas and can develop as
outlets for exports of manufactured products. E-commerce is also providing opportunities
for internationalisation

Diversification into new business areas or new markets generally require that existing
operations are of sufficient scale and competitiveness to support the new businesses. Irish
retailers do not compare in scale terms with major retailers in Europe and therefore may
be at a disadvantage in seeking to develop such opportunities and will need to differentiate
their retail offering.

4.2.3   Supply Chain Dominance

Supply chain dominance by retailers has not developed as strongly in Ireland as it has in
the UK. While there is evidence of Irish retailers formulating and implementing more
sophisticated supply chain management strategies as a means of developing competitive
advantage, it is likely that the entry of foreign retailers to the Irish market will accelerate
this trend.

Supply chain dominance comprises a number of elements including:

1. Centralising all commercial contacts between suppliers and retailers; and

2. Electronic ordering of deliveries to centralised distribution centres or consolidators.

3. Enforcing unique quality, food safety and logistics requirements; and

4. Developing a detailed knowledge of the supply chain dynamics and cost structure.

There are a number of views within the industry of the potential nature and scope of
centralisation of retailer/supplier contacts.

In relation to store operations, the view is that Irish retailers have generally allowed
individual stores to tailor themselves to local markets, and thus Irish stores have
developed strong shop management skills. UK retailers on the other hand treat each store
Page 78                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



as a ‘standard’ unit serving part of a homogenous national market. A key issue is the
extent to which individual stores in UK-owned chains in Ireland will retain the level of
uniqueness found heretofore. This will depend on the style of retailing the Irish consumer
will demand. Should the Irish consumer accept the UK format, then it is likely that highly
centralised structures will emerge. However, industry sources point to the recent
establishment of a butcher’s counter in a major UK retailer in Ireland as an indication that
UK retailers will have to adapt to Irish consumer demands, rather than importing UK
formats. It is expected that commercial contacts between suppliers and retailers will be
increasingly centralised. The impact of recent UK entrants has been to accelerate this
trend.

The supply chain structure that exists in the UK:

•   provides a cost advantage over the structure that still exists in Ireland; and

•   reduces suppliers’ input on how their goods are merchandised.

There is a strong expectation that major Irish retailers will seek to derive the benefits of a
more efficient distribution structure. This will have implications for some Irish suppliers,
particularly agents of branded products which are manufactured outside Ireland and which
are currently supplied to the UK chains. The opinions expressed in interviews is that UK
retailers are very likely to regard Britain and Ireland as a single market and seek to supply
that market on a ‘single source of supply’ basis where possible, while Irish retailers will
extend their supply bases beyond Ireland if competitive pressures force them to do so.

If Irish retailers are not to place themselves at a cost disadvantage with other retailers, it
will be necessary for them to develop new supply structures and to change the nature of
their relationships with suppliers. It will also require the development of appropriate sales
forecasting and ordering systems to facilitate efficient operations in a new structure, which
may require investment in IT systems and development of in-house skills. These
developments have been taking place within the retail sector. Irish owned multiples and
symbol groups have been piloting developments in Efficient Consumer Response (ECR)
and other supply chain improvements in recent years.

The challenge for convenience stores and independents will be to develop and maintain
a competitive national logistics infrastructure, to enable them to maintain competitive
positioning with the multiples.

The key issue in relation to the convenience stores and independents is what will happen
to the logistics infrastructure in Ireland. The expectation on the part of industry sources is
that dedicated distribution channels serving the multiples are likely to emerge. At present,
many suppliers deliver to multiples and small outlets using the same vehicles. If large
volumes of goods are transferred to dedicated multiple vehicles, the economics of the
remaining volumes are questionable.

In recent years, some Cash & Carry operations have been undertaking local deliveries of
products to independent shops. There is a view in the industry that this role may develop
in the near future and that Cash & Carry outlets may in effect become local consolidators
for a range of grocery products, serving a local geographic market.

In the clothing sector, the key element of retail strategy will be to develop in line with
changing consumer tastes, particularly in the demand for internationally recognised brand
names, while developing loyalty in the customer base.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 79



A key aspect of dominance over the supply chain is the drive by retailers to eliminate costs
from the chain. In the UK, there is an on-going process of reducing the number of
suppliers to major retailers. This not only reduces the administration needs of the retailers
and reduces costs, but it also develops larger scale suppliers who can in turn obtain lower
costs in return for higher volumes from their material suppliers e.g., packaging materials.
For retailers, consolidation of the supplier base can be an effective way of reducing
supplier input costs which can be then retained by the retailers by way of additional profit
margins or passed on to customers by way of lower prices.

4.2.4   Improved Service

Improved service covers a range of options from providing home shopping facilities to
price competition. In this respect, Irish retailers in the food sector have initiated certain
developments in the recent past, including home delivery. However, it is in the areas of

•   price competition; and
•   provision of own-label products;

that retailers in Ireland are likely to face major competitive pressures.

•   Price Competition

    Price surveys covering more than one country are very difficult to carry out as there
    are a range of factors which can cause price differences. Currency differentials can
    impact on the findings of surveys carried out at different times. VAT rates can vary on
    some of the goods contained in the ‘shopping basket’. Pack sizes can vary; the impact
    of specific promotions can distort results; the alcohol content of beers can vary, which
    can affect excise duties; and a whole host of factors specific to some products can
    make reliable comparisons different.

    A range of surveys were carried out by the Sunday Times in 1995 and extended to
    Ireland by Goodbody Economic Consultants and by Checkout magazine. The early
    surveys showed a substantial differential in retail selling prices of own-label goods
    between Irish-based and UK-based multiples. At the time there was very little
    differential between the currencies, the survey related to own-label products only and
    where VAT may have been applicable, e.g., on non-food items, no adjustment was
    made. The overall conclusion of these surveys in 1995 was that a basket of own-label
    goods in the UK cost an average of 38% less than a similar basket of own-label
    products in Ireland.

    An extension of the previous survey was then made by Goodbodys on branded goods,
    which identified a differential of 12%, much smaller than in the own-label category and
    one which could be partly explained by the transport costs of bringing goods to Ireland.
    As in the previous survey, no correction was made for currency differentials or any VAT
    implications.

    Discussions with industry participants indicate that price differentials between the UK
    and Ireland, particularly for branded products have narrowed since this survey was
    carried out. This has arisen from two sources:

    (a) UK retailers selling goods in Ireland at the same price in punts as the good is sold
        for in sterling in the UK, i.e., a coat priced at Stg£159.99 in London being sold
        for IR£159.99 in Dublin. Irish retailers have adapted their prices to compete with
        these levels.
Page 80                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



    (b) The development of direct imports by some Irish multiples, mainly in the food and
        drink sector, and the potential for Irish multiples to source branded products from
        Britain and Northern Ireland where price differences exist.

    Some recent surveys, including by RGDATA in September 1999, have shown that Irish
    food prices are now lower than those of the UK and may reflect the increasing
    competition in the Irish market, despite the recent strength of sterling.

    The recent surveys indicate that there is limited scope for importing price reductions
    in branded products, but some scope may exist in the area of own-label goods.

•   Own-Label Products

Given the volumes of own-label sales in the UK of over 40% of grocery sales, it is
inevitable that Irish retailers will face strong competition from UK retailers in this area.
Should the UK multiples rely on existing suppliers, there is likely to be a price gap between
Irish own-label products, which suffer relatively poor economies of scale compared to
imported products.

Irish retailers will be faced with the choice of meeting the challenge by developing counter
offers or suffering a permanent disadvantage. To achieve competitive price levels, if Irish
retailers cannot source products competitively in Ireland, they will be compelled to source
products direct from other countries, which may offer better economies of scale and more
efficient production.

To develop a range of own-label products, Irish retailers will also have to develop in-house
product specialists and quality control functions as own-label products increase in quality
and market position.

Industry sources expressed the view that own-label range development will be important
not only for the multiples, but also for symbol groups and that in the new competitive
environment these products will have to be competitive not only on price but also on
quality and product presentation.

Price competition in branded products will have to be met through competitive buying and,
in effect, will increase pressure both on suppliers and the retailers to reduce costs.

4.2.5     Summary

In summary, the strategic options for major Irish retailers facing international competition
include:

•   to develop larger retail outlets containing more diversified product ranges;

•   to seek new business opportunities;

•   to develop their product ranges, particularly in own brand products in the food sector;

•   to monitor and keep abreast of international developments;

•   to focus on developing customer loyalty;
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 81



•     to redefine supply chain relationships; and

•     to develop a cost efficient operating base that will facilitate price-based competition.

4.3       Implications for Distributors

The consensus amongst interviewees is that the impact of the changes in the retail sector
are likely to fall more heavily on the distribution and wholesale sector than anywhere else
in the supply chain.

As noted in Chapter 3, distribution costs in Ireland are relatively high and, though these
are to some extent driven by the population spread, there is a general belief that the
existing distribution structure is inefficient.

There is a number of reasons why retailers would wish to use third party distribution,
including:

•     potential cost reductions;

•     reduced commitment to capital;

•     flexibility in vehicle types, warehouse mix;

•     efficiency gains through consolidation or shared services;

•     access to specialist management skills; and

•     capacity to improve competitiveness by changing logistics providers.

The influence of retailers on the logistics sector has changed the distribution structure in
the UK, where the growth of the multiples has produced a distribution structure containing
a small number of very large companies that can service the multiples and that can invest
in the fleets, warehouses and IT systems to support national distribution.

The implication of the changes underway in retailing for distribution in Ireland is that a
structure of a small number of national distributors, serving large retail outlets may
ultimately emerge. In this event, the distribution activity of many suppliers will reduce
significantly. This restructuring is likely to improve the cost base and efficiency of the
sector, though it is likely to result in lower employment.

Industry estimates have placed the potential level of savings on the 1997 cost structures
at up to £150 million or 15% of estimated national distribution costs. Job losses of the
order of up to 2,000 personnel could occur over 1997 levels, although the growth in retail
activity in the economy is likely to result in an overall increase in employment in the
distribution sector. Job losses may occur in supplier despatch functions, warehousing,
transport and retail checking-in. There will be some compensating jobs created in
Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs). It is not clear, nor are there clear views on how
many RDCs will be established or how many jobs will be created.

A further implication of the centralisation of distribution is the impact on smaller retailers
not serviced by the large distributors. At present many of these are serviced by
manufacturers or importers. If manufacturers divert major volumes to centralised
Page 82                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



distribution points, it may be increasingly uneconomic to distribute to small outlets. This
may in turn lead to a development in the role of Cash & Carry outlets described previously,
many of which have been developing a role as consolidator in regional towns in recent
years.

Developments of this nature in the Cash & Carry segment may have significant
implications in terms of IT system requirements and stock planning practices. If these
independent channels are not competitive, then it is possible that many independent
retailers will link up with symbol groups to compete with the multiples.

4.4       Implications for Suppliers

4.4.1     Introduction

The following discussion on the implications for suppliers of the current and possible future
developments in the retail sector assumes that suppliers are producers, manufacturers or
processors of food products, or manufacturers of clothing products and are not
distributors, agents or brokers.

Sector Trends
In recent years, foreign clothing retailers have been taking a growing share of the Irish
clothing market. These retailers have, for the most part, well established sources of supply
in their own countries and their Irish shops continue to be supplied by these established
producers. Irish clothing manufacturers have seen their retail customers’ market share
decline, which, coupled with a shift of some clothing manufacturing from Ireland to lower
cost countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, has led to a considerable decline in
clothing manufacturing in this country. It is likely that no major clothing retailer in Ireland
sources more that 20% of its supplies from Irish suppliers.

In the food sector, the take-over of Quinnsworth/Crazy Prices by Tesco has, in the opinion
of many in the trade, exposed food producers in particular to direct competition from
overseas suppliers who, in most cases, are established preferred suppliers. This
increased competition is not confined to suppliers to these retailers. All retailers are
increasingly looking to their suppliers to become significantly more competitive in order to
enable them to compete more effectively. The introduction of the euro will increase the
level of competition in the supply sector by facilitating price comparisons, free of currency
fluctuation risks.

Ownership: Powerful International Retailers
The most significant implication of the growth of large international retailers is that they
have established supply chains and distribution arrangements, with a number of barriers
to entry. The supply chains and distribution systems of retailers are increasingly
international and tightly controlled. These retailers have significant market share and
buying power in their home markets, are internationally competitive, and have a
significantly different approach to management, structures, supply requirements and
practices than existing retailers in the Irish market. Partnership arrangements with
preferred suppliers are a key part of international distribution channels.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 83



For many Irish companies already supplying international retailers, their entry into the Irish
market may not pose a significant competitiveness challenge. However, for others, the
requirements and operations of these international retailers are likely to pose challenges
and are likely to quickly become the norm in the Irish retail sector. Over the longer term,
in order to compete, Irish retailers are also likely to increase their quality and service
requirements from suppliers so as to increase their operational and supply chain
efficiencies and to go international. Supplying to international retailers will require an
ability to compete as a part of dynamic international supply chains based on close
relationships between retailers and suppliers. The entry of foreign retail interests presents
an opportunity to increase the competitiveness in the Irish sub-supply base.

Market: Smaller Number of Larger Retailers
Increased concentration in the retail sector in the multiplies, symbol groups and the
independents is likely to lead to a smaller number of larger retail groups. Suppliers will be
faced with a situation where a limited number of larger retail groups control a significant
proportion of the retail market.

EMU is likely to accelerate this trend internationally, leading to the creation of increasingly
large retail enterprises operating right across the EU and beyond. Cross-border retailing
which has been increasing will also be considerably facilitated and accelerated by EMU.
The impact of this increasing concentration will be strengthened as retailers continue to
reduce the number of brands and suppliers in each product category. This will significantly
increase the competition for shelf space among suppliers because if a supplier’s product
is not a brand leader and the supplier is not already a preferred supplier of own-label
products, it will be increasingly difficult or impossible to get an outlet to large consumer
markets.

The key threat is replacement by an existing preferred supplier, or by a new supplier to the
Irish chain. The threat of de-listing of products, which may be preceded by a gradual
reduction in shelf space, is significant. The power of the retailers is likely to continue to
increase and this is likely to place Irish suppliers under significant competitive pressures.

On the positive side, retail groups will also require long-term supply relationships for
quality products and these requirements provide opportunities for suppliers who can meet
the need for quality at competitive prices.

4.4.2. Strategic Implications

UK multiples, for example, are heavily dependent on the sales of retailer-branded or own-
label products. The £25bn own-label market in the UK is forecast14 to grow from 45% of
total retail sales to 50% over the next five years. The share of own-label products varies
by retailer in the UK, accounting for 45% of Tesco sales for example and virtually 100% of
Marks & Spencers. In Ireland, the market share of own-label products is currently
estimated at up to 15%. This share is forecast to increase to 20-25% of the Irish market
in the near future. This will be a significant change for many Irish manufacturers which up
to now may have been supplying their branded goods to multiples in Ireland or the UK.

Producing own-label products will present opportunities for competitive Irish suppliers to
supply locally and internationally but it will also generate competitive pressures for
suppliers of branded products. In the UK, many multiples do not encourage sales of
supplier branded goods but rather own-label products manufactured to the retailers’
specifications. All retailers in Ireland are likely to increase significantly the sales of own-
label products in their outlets.




14 Own-label in the UK, Corporate Intelligence Group, 1998.
Page 84                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Competitors: Part of International Supply Chains
In supplying the Irish market, competition from suppliers will no longer be mainly from
within Ireland but will increasingly be international. Retailers entering the Irish market will
already have their own preferred suppliers with which they have been working for a
number of years. These suppliers will have proved over time that they can meet the
exacting requirements of the retail groups. Many also enjoy significant economies of scale
built up in partnership with the retailers and they are likely to be significantly more
competitive as a result.

International retailers are likely to regard Ireland and the UK as a common sourcing area
for both branded and own-label products. There is likely to be increased integration of
distribution systems, as retailers try to rationalise the sources of supply for products. World
sourcing for basic/commodity goods is likely to increase. UK retailers in particular with
centralised distribution centres will see Ireland as even more attractive if they are able to
take advantage of their sourcing operations and deliver competitively priced items.

Currently between 40-50% of the products sold in Ireland are sourced in the UK. In the
context of a stable or appreciating sterling exchange rate for sterling against the euro after
EMU, Irish suppliers will have a significant opportunity to expand their market position in
the UK as well as in other EMU member countries. If sterling depreciates significantly,
certain sectors may become vulnerable.

Strategies and Opportunities
There is no one generic strategy that can be recommended to Irish companies. Much
depends on the product sector, company resources, level of development, management
capability and the long term objectives of the producer in question. What is clear is that
many suppliers need to reassess their strategies in the light of current and future retail
sector developments.

Case Study - Unigate plc

Unigate plc is an example of a large manufacturing company with diverse interests
covering branded and own-label products. In its recent past, Unigate’s strategy has
focused on expansion in fresh foods, underpinned by strong brands and high capital
investment. Unigate plc comprises four main units. Firstly, it is the second largest
manufacturer of yellow fats (cheese, butter etc.) in the UK. Secondly, Malton Foods is the
largest processor of pig meat products in the UK. Thirdly, Wincanton Logistics is one of
the major specialist distribution companies in the UK providing and operating centralised
distribution systems for major retailers and manufacturers. Fourthly, it has a dairy business
which processes and distributes dairy products.

Unigate plc combines operations with strong brand names such as Kraft and St. Ivel with
own-label manufacturing. It is widely believed that the largest exposure to own-label is in
Malton Foods which supplies both basic commodity and added-value cuts of pork, bacon
and cooked meat. Branding in these product categories is very low in the UK; own-label
products dominate the segment.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 85



Own-label products have a relatively low share in other markets such as dairy spreads and
yoghurts. This position is sustained to some extent by a high level of marketing support
for branded products. Recent trends are showing that this marketing support is becoming
more expensive in relative terms as market growth slows and imports have taken
increased market share.

In the margarines and spreads market, brand advertising has held back own-label
penetration, but this is increasingly difficult to sustain in static markets. Mergers of
operations to generate cost reductions has been carried out, but there are suggestions
that more product innovation is needed to continue to stave off the threat of own-label
products.

There are three main strategic options for suppliers to respond to the changes underway:

•   To have or develop a brand leadership position;

•   To be or develop as a highly competitive own-label supplier;

•   To be or develop as a niche supplier with a high value-added or luxury product or
    catering for specialist tastes.

Repositioning a product or company based on one of these options will require significant
investment by suppliers. Suppliers will also need to widen their horizons and to look
beyond servicing just the local and the near European markets, such as the UK market,
and seek out opportunities for supplying retailers in Europe, in particular those in the euro
zone. They will need to build the capability and capacity required to supply internationally
across retail groups.

For suppliers with a strong brand or dominant brand the objectives must be:

•   to ensure that the brand is a ‘must carry’ brand through continuous marketing and
    innovation;

•   to maintain consumer demand for their products. This will require continuous
    marketing and promotional expenditure and a focus on differentiation. Continuous
    evaluation of market positioning relative to competing branded and own-label products
    will become even more essential. New product development and innovation in existing
    products will be very important, especially in the context of the category management
    strategies of the major multiples which emphasise product innovation and
    differentiation. It is estimated that of Marks & Spencers 2,700 food lines, for example,
    at least 1,000 new or improved products are introduced each year;

•   where appropriate, to exploit opportunities to leverage off strong local brands to supply
    own-label product for cross group sales in other markets where the supplier’s brand
    may not be well established.

For existing and potential own-label suppliers the objectives must be:

•   to meet the retailers highly demanding operational requirements in terms of volume
    production, quality, delivery, and service and for continuous product and production
    innovation;
Page 86                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



•   to achieve continuous increases in production efficiencies to meet retailer
    requirements for increased margins and development of close ongoing relationships
    with the retailers;

•   to have the capacity for continuous product development and innovation, and for
    increased margins through increased efficiencies in the supply chain.

For niche suppliers the objectives must be:

•   to maintain a continuous focus on product innovation, differentiation and specialist
    merchandising, so as to maintain market positioning and avoid the threat of
    replacement by an own-label product;

•   to focus on speciality and high value-added product categories that larger suppliers
    may not either be currently supplying or where a smaller supplier can supply more
    competitively;

•   to develop time-based competitive advantage in supplying multiples operating in
    Ireland by providing fresh produce quicker than international suppliers in product
    categories where time to market, service and freshness are essential or where local
    suppliers can best produce to meet local tastes;

•   to develop potential niche markets in luxury foods, chilled and ready to serve meals.

For all suppliers, other options include:

•   developing value added partnerships to achieve critical mass and economies of scale
    among Irish suppliers, to supply international retailers so as to fulfil large contracts and
    for cross group sales;

•   developing time-based competitive capability which will become an increasingly
    important competitive factor for suppliers. This is where Irish suppliers can use their
    local presence for competitive advantage through careful production planning and
    providing faster responses on day to day supply;

•   adopting leading edge manufacturing and qualitiy systems;

•   increasing operational efficiency through, for example, reducing numbers of product
    lines to increase available capacity to produce for multiples, productivity improvement
    agreements and supports, re-engineering production and training and human
    resource development which upgrades the overall strategic and functional capability,
    productivity and efficiency of supplier firms.

In summary, Irish suppliers are grouped by retailers into three categories as follows:

•   large scale suppliers of own brand food products, already serving UK and Irish
    multiples. This group may expect to see some sales increases, if the retailers they
    supply abroad move into Ireland or if their Irish customers increase their market
    shares.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 87



•   small scale producers of own brand food products, serving mainly Irish multiples, but
    in some cases serving UK retailers. These suppliers are facing substantial competitive
    pressures. The key threat is that of replacement either by the existing preferred
    supplier to a foreign owned retailer, or by a new supplier to an Irish owned chain, if the
    current producer cannot supply the products competitively. This type of business
    movement may become more likely after the euro introduction.

•   suppliers of own-label clothing products. These suppliers have seen some erosion of
    the market share of their main customers and have responded in various ways, i.e. by
    improving their own efficiencies or by outsourcing the manufacturing and retaining
    certain skills, e.g. design, material sourcing, in-house. Competitive pressures on this
    category are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Potential Opportunities
To assess the potential opportunities and threats to Irish suppliers, it is useful to examine
trends of own-label food and non-food items in the UK grocery trade. Table 4.2. shows the
recent trends in this area in the UK.
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      TABLE 4.2:        UK Own-label Product Trends

      Year Ending First Sunday in August:             1994    1996
      FOODS: Own-label Market Share, %
      Bacon                                           60.6    79.5
      Milk                                            75.6    78.8
      Packaged cottage cheese                         77.3    78.7
      Non processed nuts                              67.3    75.6
      Dried rice                                      69.7    72.2
      Fruit juices                                    63.1    70.3
      Honey                                           62.7    69.2
      Canned kidney beans                             60.9    68.9
      Salted peanuts                                  58.2    65.8
      Lard                                            63.5    64.8
      Natural cheese                                  62.3    64.3
      Olive oil                                       61.3    63.5
      Cooking oils                                    60.2    63.4
      Tinned peas                                     60.4    62.4
      Chilled pastes & spreads                        46.8    61.7
      Ambient ready meals                             57.6    60.8
      Jam                                             45.3    55.5
      Dry pasta                                       51.5    54.5
      Ground coffee                                   47.8    53.0
      Canned tomatoes                                 36.9    51.5
      Pre-cooked sliced meats                         31.7    50.2
      Bread                                           45.2    48.9
      Mineral water                                   44.3    47.8
      Canned sweetcorn                                44.7    47.2
      Flour                                           45.6    46.9
      Malt vinegar                                    46.1    46.8
      Table jellies                                   40.5    46.3
      Chilled yoghurt                                 42.5    45.2
      Table salt                                      38.5    43.9
      Savoury rice                                    36.3    41.7
      Squashes and cordials                           36.8    40.8
      Bottled carbonates                              35.1    39.4
      Potato crisps                                   37/5    38.3
      Canned tuna                                     35.1    35.6
      Distilled malt vinegar                          31.1    33.1


      NON-FOODS: Own-label Market Share, %
      Aluminium foil                                  78.7    82.7
      Plastic food bags                               79.3    80.9
      Bin liners                                      66.7    76.4
      Household cleaning cloths & sponges             72.7    75.8
      Cotton buds                                     67.7    69.7
      Coffee filters                                  49.9    66.6
      Kitchen towels                                  58.0    64.8
      Cat litter                                      55.1    60.0
      Facial tissues                                  55.8    54.2
      Liquid disinfectants                            51.5    52.5
      Toilet tissues                                  46.3    51.2
      Bleach                                          42.1    48.3
      Bath liquids                                    40.4    37.3
      Dishwasher products                             34.8    36.1
      Detergents                                      12.9    18.7
      Source: AC Nielsen Homescan, 1997.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 89



A review of the products shows that it is not possible to categorise own-label easily. The
list includes fresh products (milk, bread), chilled products, canned products, dry goods as
well as the range of non-food products. It is difficult to draw conclusions as to the potential
for own-label by product category. For example, own-label has a market share of almost
80% in milk but is less than 50% in bread. Some products, e.g., bacon and pre-cooked
sliced meats, have shown strong growth over the period, while others have remained
relatively static. The range of own-label products shown is diverse and the potential impact
on Irish suppliers depends on the Irish consumers’ reaction to them, and the level of
acceptance achieved. It is not possible to predict the likely impact on a product-by-product
basis but it is essential that UK trends in each product area are considered as part of a
company’s strategic review.

4.4.3   Product Strategy Options

Irish suppliers will need to review their own strategies. Not all companies will have a
choice of manufacturing own-label and/or branded products. Not all companies will have
the scale required to compete in own-label supply. The first choice for many suppliers is
which portion of the retail sector they wish to do business with. The multiples offer
potentially large volumes at very competitive prices and significant emphasis on product
development and quality systems. The non-multiple sector may appear to be a more
profitable channel, but it will be subject to increasing competition from increasingly
efficient producers, and any supplier who does not focus on competitiveness may suffer.
In the food sector suppliers may wish to focus on the non-retail or cuisine sector, supplying
caterers and restaurants.

•   The multiple/own-label segment
    The conclusion of the interviews with existing own-label producers was that multiples
    require two main attributes from their suppliers of own brand food products;
    continuous product development and innovation, and good margins. The view of many
    retailers is that product development and innovation is an essential requirement of
    suppliers. Product development includes improvement as well as new product
    introductions.

    It is estimated that for major retailers, as much as 40% of the food lines are improved
    or introduced as new products each year.

    New product development and continuous innovation are increasingly central to the
    operations and competitiveness of the retail groups and multiples, in particular in
    respect of own-label products. It is estimated that Tesco for example, has a product
    turnover of up to 2,000 new products per annum. Retailers are continuously looking
    for innovations that can increase the throughput of a product and optimise turnover per
    square foot, margins, service and convenience. Suppliers will need to be increasingly
    proactive and strongly drive the product development process. There is a view that in
    Ireland, in the past, Irish suppliers have relied on retailers to drive the new product
    development process.

Options

•   Irish suppliers will need to work closely with retailers and become more proactive in
    new product development if they are to increase their linkages with retailers and grow;
Page 90                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



•   Suppliers need to have processes in place for monitoring and tracking consumer
    tastes and trends, retailer category management practices and policies and new and
    innovative developments in competing products. Specifically, suppliers will need to
    gain access to and make good use of the market research of the multiples on
    consumer profiles, choice, tastes and buying habits;

•   Suppliers will need to work with material suppliers on new innovations and designs
    and work with the retailers throughout the product development process;

•   Monitoring international developments will be critical as retailers themselves are
    purchasing for their international markets. Suppliers must change the focus from
    supplying to multiples to supplying customers through multiples. Continued and
    increased support for R&D on new and improved products will be critical. The
    overseas offices of the development agencies can play a key role in ensuring a
    continuous flow of information and market intelligence back to suppliers;

•   The national food research bodies and product development infrastructure (e.g., third
    level food research centres) have an important role to play enhancing the levels of
    innovation in the sector.

The experience of many own-label suppliers in the UK is that it is the suppliers themselves
who must be proactive in the area of new product development. The multiples will provide
relevant market data and discuss category strategies; they will assist with consumer
research and product development; they will provide consumer panel assessments and
help in many ways; but it is the producer who must initiate the product idea. When a
multiple has to approach a supplier, it is usually because other retailers have gained some
competitive advantage from a new product and the multiple needs to react. Major
multiples dislike being in a reactive mode.

The key advice for own-label suppliers is to be aware of consumer buying practices. For
example, consumers are currently spending less time preparing meals than they did in the
past. Consumers today tend to buy food for several days and in many cases purchase
meal ‘components’, i.e., items such as chicken which can be mixed with various sauces,
and added to vegetables to make a meal. Convenience foods, prepared foods and frozen
foods are seen as potential opportunities. Market research of what consumers are doing
and buying is seen by retailers as being of much greater value than studying data such as
trade statistics. Import data is included in section 3.5.10 above, together with comments
on current sources of supply to the Irish market.

To be successful, own-label providers must develop strong links at all levels of the retailer
organisation and must establish a team which replicates the retailers’ purchasing team.
Such a team will need to include commercial people who can analyse and interpret market
data, as well as staff involved in product development.

•   Branded Product Suppliers
    The key requirement for a branded food product manufacturer will be to maintain
    consumer demand for the products in the face of competition from other brands as
    well as own-label products.

    This may require major advertising or promotional expenditure, which often can be
    provided in sufficient quantities only by large companies. For small manufacturers of
    branded products, some elements of differentiation and uniqueness will be essential.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 91



    If as anticipated, the food retail sector shifts towards own brand products, then
    manufacturers will have to seriously evaluate the relative positioning of their branded
    products vis-a-vis competing own-label products. Should substantial differentiation
    exist, then the manufacturer has an opportunity to develop its products.

    Certain options, such as focusing on alternative channels of distribution or, in some
    cases, an advertising campaign, may not guarantee success. Product development,
    focusing on either new products or developing differentiation in existing products, may
    be the optimum solution. Such product development should be carried out bearing in
    mind the category strategies of the major outlets.

•   Exclusive Brands
    It is anticipated that a major development in food retailing in the near future will be the
    introduction of ‘exclusive’ brands for major food retailers, i.e., branded products which
    are exclusive to the retailer in question. Suppliers see this development as ‘providing
    the best of both worlds’ for the retailer. From the suppliers’ perspective, there is little
    or no difference between an exclusive brand and own-label. However, there is a view
    that retailers need branded products to provide consumers with benchmarks for their
    own-label products. Exclusive brands could provide the consumer with such
    benchmarks while providing the retailer with the benefits of own-label. Exclusive
    brands are seen by some as a greater threat to branded product manufacturers than
    to own-label producers.

•   Fresh Products
    Fresh products include meat, fish and vegetables that are often supplied in
    commodity, unbranded form but that are increasingly supplied in branded form. Fresh
    meat is attributed to particular farmers, some fresh shellfish are now branded and
    vegetables are pre-packed and branded. Fresh product suppliers are often very small
    and the key issue for them will be developing economies of scale that will enable them
    to negotiate with the multiples and to achieve competitiveness in the face of non-Irish
    suppliers. Small suppliers of fresh products are particularly vulnerable as supply
    arrangements with the multiples often mean that the small supplier is a producer only
    and is not involved in marketing their products. Small suppliers can be replaced
    relatively easily and the multiples are not as dependent on small suppliers as they are
    on the large producers.

    Fresh product suppliers can compete on being quickest to supply retailers and on less
    handling of products. However, this will not provide substantial price advantages,
    hence the need for competitiveness at all levels, i.e., price and quality.

•   Clothing
    In the clothing sector, the situation is viewed by those in the trade as being more
    evolutionary than in the food trade. The food sector is now being exposed to the
    competitive pressures that have existed in the clothing sector for most of the decade.
    Many companies have adapted to the development in the retail sector but the
    continued development of foreign retailers has meant that the future will continue to
    be very competitive and further outsourcing and transfer of production to low cost
    countries is likely to continue.
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4.4.4     Manufacturing Operations

Trends
Changes that are evident within the manufacturing sector, and that may contribute
significantly to retailer competitiveness include:

•   improved production technology enabling manufacturers to offer shorter production
    runs and still maintain price competitiveness; and

•   the emergence of time based competition based on delivery and service improvement,
    rather than pure price based competition.

Improved technology and ability to shorten production runs
The processes used in manufacturing, in both food and clothing are changing. The
practice of the just-in-time supply, together with stock minimisation, involves lower batch
sizes and radical shortening of throughput times. Changes in the methods of managing
production, in the arrangement of facilities and sometimes investment in more flexible
equipment are involved.

For manufacturers who use modern manufacturing processes in the appropriate ways,
major improvements in customer response capability, together with cost savings, are
generally obtained, which for the manufacturer can be a win-win situation. Modern
processes enable the manufacturers to respond to the demand for higher quality products.

The importance of time-based rather than cost-based competition
The need for manufacturers to improve their time-based competitive capability further was
referred to by many of the retailers interviewed during the research for this study.
Timeliness and delivery responsive are becoming increasingly important competitive
factors for retailers.

Time-based competitiveness needs to be considered at two levels. The first is the day-to-
day servicing of retail outlets, supplying product for sale to customers. The second is new
product development, and the timely introduction of innovative products.

The biggest impact on production for suppliers who gain business with the retail groups
into the future will be the requirement to produce to supply the cross group requirements
of the multiples for a particular product. Exclusive production agreements for particular
products are increasingly becoming the norm. Bulk production and economies of scale will
be critical. However, production runs will also need to be shorter and more flexible so as
to minimise inventory costs and because orders will be placed more frequently in
response to short-term demand forecasts. In the UK, for example, some suppliers carry
as little as two days stocks. Production planning and zero inventory techniques are critical.
The move from supplier assured quality to a situation where the retailer determines the
required quality standards is likely to accelerate.

Time-based competition will intensify. Improvements in production technology are
enabling manufacturers to offer shorter production runs and still maintain price
competitiveness. Suppliers will be required to have a high customer response capability,
just-in-time supply, with stock minimisation, involving lower batch sizes and radical
shortening of throughput times. In sectors where there may be over capacity retailers will
seek out lower prices. Close co-operation with retail groups will be essential for developing
better production forecasting techniques, in the use of prior forecasts of demand and in
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 93



the use of preliminary production schedules in production planning. Increasing supplier
scale is likely to result from the drive of the retail groups towards a continuing programme
of reducing the number of suppliers in each product sector. Surviving producers with
increased scale should be able to negotiate lower input prices from their input suppliers,
generate lower production costs, and provide lower cost products to retailers thereby
enhancing retailer competitiveness.

Opportunities
The general view of retailers is that manufacturers in Ireland need to develop a stronger
focus on minimising stocks while assuring 100% availability of goods. This implies a
substantial improvement in sales forecasting, production planning and production
operations.

Major retailers will co-operate with suppliers to forecast demand. In the UK, the practice
of the retailer providing suppliers with indicative sales forecasts, often during the week
prior to the week in which the orders will be made, is common. This enables the
manufacturer to prepare a preliminary production schedule. Again, depending on the
product sector, daily orders from the retailer to the supplier are commonplace. A key
element in the process is the ability of the retailer to forecast, with a reasonable degree of
accuracy, and the ability of the supplier to adapt immediately to changing requirements.

In practice, some suppliers of products in the UK carry as little as two day’s stocks, while
suppliers of perishables carry less than one day’s stock.

It is the view within the retail trade that Irish suppliers are not benefiting from the
opportunities available to them to be the fastest. As local suppliers, they should be capable
of providing faster responses on day-to-day supply requirements, and they should monitor
international developments more closely to ensure they suffer no disadvantage from a
lack of new product developments. The views of both food and clothing retailers is that, in
the past, Irish manufacturers have relied on the retailers to drive the new product
development process, whereas in other markets, the manufacturers have been more
proactive in this regard.

While the entry of large overseas retailers to the Irish market, and similar multiples, can
mean major extra pressures on Irish suppliers, they can also offer significant opportunities
for international cross-group sales. A number of Irish suppliers have already won
significant contracts with Tesco for cross-group sales and the development agencies are
working with a number of Irish-based suppliers with reasonable prospects of achieving
such cross-group sales and there will be further opportunities in the medium term.

In summary, the impact of the changes in the retail sector are likely to demand significant
improvements in production planning, forecasting and manufacturing flexibility.

4.4.5   Distribution

Trends
Notwithstanding the recent arrival of major UK food retailers into Ireland, a restructuring
of the distribution systems in both the food and clothing sectors had been underway,
though at a relatively slower pace compared to that expected in the near future. This
restructuring is attributed to a number of developments including:
Page 94                             THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



•   consumer shopping habits changing to favour the one-stop-shop concept, hence a
    demand for increased product ranges in stores;

•   the significant growth in the numbers of British specialist clothing stores operating in
    Ireland, prior to the recent developments in the food sector;

•   buying power being increasingly concentrated in both the food and clothing sectors;

•   growth in sales of the retailers own brands in the clothing trade; and

•   some of the larger clothing retailers selling only own-label garments.

The key change in the immediate future in Ireland is likely to be a further shift towards
central distribution in the food sector. This has a number of possible implications for
suppliers, including:

•   potential loss of influence over merchandising and placement of product in shops;

•   increased centralisation of retailer/supplier dealings;

•   potentially uneconomic distribution structures, if major volumes are diverted by
    multiples to centralised distribution structures; and

•   further erosion of the ‘direct supply’ base, if independent retailers close or join the
    symbol groups.

Opportunities and Challenges
The potential outcomes of a changed national distribution structure include:

•   independent retailers becoming increasingly dependent on Cash & Carrys to act as
    sources of supply, or face increased charges from suppliers anxious to recover full
    distribution costs;

•   Cash & Carrys developing a role as ‘local consolidators’ in defined geographic areas;
    and

•   emergence of independent local hauliers distributing on behalf of a number
    of suppliers.

For Irish suppliers the key challenge will be to ensure that the costs of holding stock are
not pushed up the supply chain to them. They will, therefore, need to collaborate more
closely with retailers in the operation of sales-based ordering systems and of the logistics
network.

The move to centralised distribution will have a significant impact on suppliers own
distribution systems as it may become uneconomic for suppliers to provide both a
dedicated delivery service for the large retail groups and to continue supplying to a range
of other stores in particular independent retailers. It may no longer be economical for
suppliers to maintain their own distribution fleet. The outsourcing of distribution will require
to be considered. Changes to the national distribution system may result in a small
number of distributors providing a dedicated service to a single supply chain or a small
number of large supply chains. Cash & Carrys are likely to become important
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                             Page 95



consolidation centres for supplying to the independent sector. Cash & Carrys will need to
invest significantly in information and communications technologies if they are to match
the efficiency of the multiples supply chains and pass on the benefits to the independent
sector so as to maintain the competitiveness of their offerings. They will also need to
invest in their logistics and stock management capabilities.

In summary, the structure of the distribution sector is likely to change and increase
efficiency. Companies and suppliers that are at the leading edge of the change will be
more likely to succeed.

4.4.6   Sourcing of Materials

With increased pressure for cost reduction and improved competitiveness, manufacturers
continuously need to seek out the most competitive prices from all input suppliers. Large-
scale producers, coming from a position of strength, can negotiate competitive deals. Raw
material innovation involving retailers is increasing. Retailers are demanding the use of
the latest and most authentic ingredients in the preparation of food products. Retailers are
increasingly requiring the use of their own preferred packaging designs and sources of
materials, e.g., specific types of packaging only acceptable for particular products or
categories.

Suppliers to the retail sector are likely to look in turn on their material suppliers as potential
sources of cost reduction and improved competitiveness. However, the individual
producer and the raw material supplier are often quite different in size and scale. Many
material suppliers, mainly in packaging, are much larger in scale that the food or clothing
producers.

This reinforces the view expressed by some major retailers that suppliers must be large
scale or niche. Large scale producers can negotiate with raw material suppliers from
positions of strength, while for niche suppliers, material costs may not be major
competitive factors.

As in other aspects of competitiveness, the widespread view is that the food sector will
have to adjust to the new environment to a much greater extent than clothing
manufacturers.

Food producers may also have to become accustomed to situations where innovation in
product or packaging design is driven by material suppliers and is ‘sold’ by them directly
to the retailer, that in turn demands that the food producer change the product to
incorporate the innovation.

There may be a greater risk than usual to suppliers in industry sectors that have
overcapacity. Major retailers can exploit the existence of overcapacity in an industry to
obtain lower prices than would often be available from sectors where capacity matches
demand.

Finally, there is potential for major retailers to develop large scale suppliers by a continuing
programme of reduction in the number of suppliers in product sectors. Reducing the
number of suppliers of a particular product from four to two, not only reduces the retailers’
administration workload, but the two suppliers should be able to reduce per unit production
costs through economies of scale. These manufacturers should also be able to negotiate
lower input prices from material suppliers, reduce the relative level of administration costs
Page 96                                       THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



and, in effect, provide a much lower cost product to the retailer, thereby enhancing retailer
competitiveness.

•    Small producers will need to examine ways to improve the deals they get from input
     material suppliers;

•    Alliances in purchasing with other producers or negotiations through representative
     associations on material costs could be of considerable benefit in increasing the
     purchasing power of producers;

•    Producers will need to work with retailers in deciding on material supply and, where
     possible, leverage these relationships for better deals from material suppliers.

4.4.7      Information and Communications Technologies

The use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)15 between retailers and suppliers is
increasing both in Ireland and the UK. It is used to a significant extent in order
transmission and invoice transmission. The development of suitable systems to
communicate with major retailers should be regarded as an imperative by manufacturers.

Major retailers are also investing substantial amounts in IT systems to record customer
transactions, develop sales forecasts and generate orders to suppliers. One UK retailer,
for example, has developed a system to generate individual store orders, which are then
aggregated by a system called SCION (Supply Chain Integrated Ordering Network) to
generate purchase orders for suppliers. These orders are currently communicated by
telephone, autofax or EDI.

Retailers also favour transmission of invoices by EDI as it reduces paperwork and
improves processing and payment performance. Automatching of invoices with RDC or
store receipts data is possible, which can reduce the processing costs of invoices
considerably.

Some retailers have now developed their information systems capability to the stage
where they no longer check all goods received, but rely on spot checks alone at
RDCs/stores.

EDI is an enabler of efficient consumer response (ECR), whereby demand pulls
production throughout the supply chain, from material input right through to the store shelf.
Short-term demand forecasts are fed back through the supply chain, determining
production and minimising stock levels.

The development of EDI will be accelerated by the implementation of ECR (Efficient
Consumer Response). EDI is not an element of ECR, but is a necessary enabler, which
must be in place in order for ECR to be implemented.

The principles of EDI are common to all sectors, and their implementation must be seen
as a requirement, not merely as a source, of competitive advantage:

•    Irish suppliers wishing to supply to the retailers will increasingly have no option but to
     ensure that their systems are compatible with the systems of the retail groups;

•    Suppliers will need to have the in-house technical and planning expertise to manage




15 EDI is the digital exchange of information between the computer systems of various businesses.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 97



    the required systems for production management and systems logistics. Suppliers will
    need a significant on-going investment in technology in future;

•   There is a need to move away from the current situation of lack of common technology
    standards among suppliers in Ireland and to promote and raise awareness of the
    systems requirements of the multiples.

Case Study - EDI

A company in the UK, which supplies pre-packed meat products to a range of multiples
describes their use of EDI as follows:

“At the end of each week we receive a message via EDI, which outlines the expected
orders, on a day-by-day basis for the next week. This allows us to carry out a production
planning exercise and to determine the sources of our inputs. Normally we find that the
multiples’ forecasts are quite accurate and they do give us some advance warning, i.e.,
two or so days, if the forecast needs to be changed.

Each day we receive an order from the multiple detailing all the information we need, e.g.
quantities etc., and delivery points. We deliver to RDCs and we are allocated our delivery
times. These delivery times are the initial points for our daily production plan. We work
back from them through our dispatching hall and into the production areas. The orders
from the multiples are generally received about 3.00 am, so we have just enough time to
do our planning.

Production, i.e., pre-packing starts fairly quickly and we aim to start dispatching deliveries
by mid morning. Most deliveries are made to the RDCs in the afternoon.

We send our invoices by EDI. Our invoices are based on dispatches. The multiples carry
out automatching of our invoices with their records of goods received on their IT systems.
They agree usually, but if they don’t, we have to sort it out. When our invoices are agreed
they are scheduled for payment in line with agreed terms.

Bar coding is widely used for data gathering, checking dispatches and recording receipts.

The whole system works very well, but we are under continuous pressure to fulfil orders.
Stocks are at a minimum and costs are kept as low as possible.”

Source: KPMG, 1998

4.4.8   Quality

The general attitude of retailers is that the highest quality of food or clothing output is
regarded as a given, it is not on option. Food safety is regarded in the same light.
Manufacturers must therefore adhere to the highest standards of quality and product
safety. There is however some differences in the approach to quality assurance on the part
of major retailers.

Department store buyers tend to work on their experience, their judgement and the
reputations of suppliers, rather than documented formal quality systems while the larger
clothing retailers tend to have dedicated quality manuals for private label suppliers. These
manuals differ from ISO9000 in that they address technical issues rather than the
management of quality.
Page 98                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



The food sector is subject to a range of quality systems for example, IS09000 and the
Hygiene Mark, and interviewees state that the approach of retailers varies from
manufacturers determined standards to annual compliance audits by retailers of their
suppliers.

Production management techniques will increasingly be required to comply with the
retailer-required safety and quality management systems. In many cases these systems
are more rigorous than ISO as they focus not just on technical issues but also on the
management of quality. Standards for own-label products are particularly rigorous as
retailers need to guarantee consistent quality, appearance and ingredients. Retailers
increasingly have their own teams of food technologists that complete tests and audits on
production lines, with their own laboratories for testing.

Traceability throughout the supply chain is increasingly a requirement, from raw material
sourcing through to production, to ensure consistently high quality and to maintain
consumer confidence.

It is widely perceived that the most rigorous food quality systems are those operated by
the major UK multiples in respect of own-label producers. The basis of these systems is
that the retailer owns the brand and is not willing to allow a contract manufacturer to
generate any negative reaction to the ‘own brand’ through poor food safety, inconsistent
quality, poor appearance, substandard ingredients or any other source of product problem.
Quality checks by these retailers are infrequent and producers are expected to display a
proactive approach to quality improvement. Quality checks and audits are extended
throughout the supply chain, and are carried out by teams of highly trained professionals.
For example, horticulturalists will examine fruit or vegetable producers, microbiologists will
test hygiene conditions at dairy plants etc.

For companies seeking to develop as own-label suppliers to food retailers, the
development of highly capable quality departments is a prerequisite. It is regarded by
retailers as an area where medium and small Irish suppliers may be deficient.

For many Irish suppliers, retailer determined quality systems are completely new and will
require significant investments in training, quality management systems and new
technologies. Coming from a situation of a lack of common quality standards may place
Irish suppliers at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis other countries. The situation in
Ireland where there is no widely accepted quality system for the food industry, in particular
in the added-value food sector, will be partly addressed by the strict quality management
systems of the retailers.

Speed of adaptation to retailer determined quality systems will be critical to convincing
retailers that they can implement and produce to the required standards and supply
competitively. The dissemination of the quality requirements of the retailers, and the
provision of support for companies in upgrading their quality systems and capabilities,
should be a priority for the development agencies.

4.4.9     Selling through the retail outlets rather than to the retail outlets

Major retailers expressed the view that the least competitive potential suppliers are those
that are more interested in selling into retail stores rather than in generating sales through
the store. The view of retailers is that manufacturers should see the shelf or rack space
provided for their products in a retail store as an opportunity to generate profit for both the
retailer and for the supplier, and that this opportunity deserves careful support and the
constant development of the relationship with the retailer. Buyers in large retail chains do
not buy products, they buy long term profit opportunities.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                            Page 99



In order to reach the consumer through the trade, a product must be capable of competing
for consumer choice and must also deliver a benefit to the retailer. In order to gain a listing,
in general, a product must be capable of generating more profit and throughput than
alternative products, and the supplier must be capable of providing the necessary level of
service. Profit value is assessed on three main criteria:

•   Turnover: The product range must be competitive to generate higher turnover per
    square foot of retail space than alternative products;

•   Margin: The retailer margin must be attractive;

•   Service: Retailers will specify the service requirements that must be met. These will
    typically include delivery instructions, packing and labelling requirements, product
    safety requirements, service standards, receipts procedures, invoice processing and
    environmental requirements.

Major retailers in both the food and clothing sectors generally want to develop long term
partnerships with suppliers that can maintain the highest levels of product and customer
service.

For those companies that develop partnerships with retailers, there can be significant
benefits. Firstly, retailers are prepared to share knowledge about consumer choice, tastes
and buying habits with suppliers, but not generally with non-suppliers. Secondly,
manufacturers can often work with suppliers, e.g., packaging providers, in carrying out
market research. Thirdly, the retailer will take an active role in new product development.

Developments in transport links between Ireland and the UK have improved the ability of
UK distributors to respond rapidly to serving the Irish market, as well as for Irish suppliers
to service the UK market. Manufacturers that are in local markets should be in a better
position to manage the retailers’ stocks and replenish retailers more effectively. There
should be opportunities for Irish suppliers to develop their relationships with foreign
retailers, provided they concentrate on selling to the consumer through the retailer, on
managing the retailer stocks and not simply restricting their involvement to selling into the
retail outlets.

4.4.10 The professionalism in buying in the multiples

Trends
The purchasing structures and procedures of the larger retailers are becoming highly
centralised with suppliers having little if any contact with individual stores. This includes
not just commercial arrangements such as prices and payments but also ordering,
promotions, merchandising and shelf space management. These are functions that Irish
suppliers up to now have had control over in individual Irish stores and have been
managed by supplier merchandising teams. Contact between the supplier and the retailer
is increasingly with a category or sector specific buying team that has specialist expertise
in a product or category area. Senior buyers within these teams are changed frequently to
maintain the pressure for competitive procurement across all product areas.
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Buying teams are made up of a number of experts and professionals. These include; food
technologists; microbiologists and horticulturalists to check for quality and consistency of
input materials, production and products; category managers to determine whether a
product fits in with the multiple’s category management plans and policies and whether it
has the potential to achieve increasing returns; market researchers to determine whether
the product is the best available to meet an identified market or consumer demand; and,
in department stores, floor managers that may be responsible for a number of product
areas. The requirements of each functional and operational area need to be taken into
account in competing to supply the retail sectors into the future. Suppliers need to match
the professionalism of the retailer buying teams and to ensure they can meet the
requirements of each functional area.

Options and Opportunities
Provided that the retailer can be satisfied on the operational issues, then the following are
likely to be increasingly used as the broad criteria for negotiating purchasing agreements
with suppliers:

•   Market Research: The retailer will need to be convinced that the product meets an
    identified customer need, demand or emerging market trend. This should include
    analyses of customer profiles, point-of-sale information and the retailers own market
    research, in particular in respect of own-label brand development and market
    research;

•   Category Management: The purchasing team will need to be convinced that the
    product fits in with retailer category plans;

•   Product Availability: Suppliers will be required to commit to 100% availability of
    product, and demonstrate capacity to deliver;

•   Good Margins: The product will need to offer the potential for increased margins,
    product throughput and shelf space optimisation;

•   New Innovative Products: Retailers are increasingly seeking to be first to the market
    with new products and innovations, in particular in the own-label product categories.
    Products need to have the potential to drive increased consumer demand and
    enhance loyalty to the multiples own-label range of products. Suppliers need to be
    able to demonstrate a capability in these areas;

•   Quality: Suppliers are required to prove their capability and capacity to meet retailers
    quality requirements;

•   Technology/Systems: Electronic data interchange and related systems are critical
    for achieving substantial efficiency gains. ICT capability throughout the supply chain
    and ability to link into the multiples systems for all communications and interaction will
    be essential.

There is a view within the retail trade that many Irish food producers will have to improve
their levels of professionalism significantly. In particular, developing a keen awareness of
consumer wants and likely future developments is seen as important. Retailers want their
suppliers to be more proactive than many of them have been in the past.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 101



Retailers will also expect suppliers to develop sales structures which fit in with the retailer
structure, providing a range of contact points between the retailer and the supplier. The
buying function within various retailers varies somewhat and a key element at the outset
of a relationship is learning the retailers’ structure and how the buying activity will be
carried out. For example, one retailer has separated the three roles of Buyer, Customer
Planner and Product Developer and has formed category teams comprising these roles
under a single Category Business Development Manager. Suppliers are expected to
provide the necessary high quality resources to make the new structure and its
relationships with suppliers work.

For smaller suppliers the barriers to supplying to the larger retail groups are likely to
increase. Irish suppliers will be negotiating with experienced and professional buyers that
have a range of international suppliers from which to choose. The negotiating power,
therefore, lies essentially with these teams. For retailers, the incentives for changing to a
new supplier need to be substantive, in terms of increased margins, quality and for
stimulating consumer demand. For example, 80% of the suppliers to Marks & Spencers
have been with them since they started. In almost all categories they will already have
suppliers that have been supplying competitively for a number of years. The opportunities
for test marketing to the public are also likely to be significantly reduced for Irish suppliers.
The challenge is significantly greater where the retailer may not have a purchasing
department in Ireland, but may be buying for group sales including the Irish market, from
the UK.

Developing networks and alliances of Irish suppliers may need to be considered to offer
complete coverage of the Irish market, as should co-operative programmes among
suppliers to win contracts to supply to the multiples.

4.4.11 Purchasing/Contract Terms

Issues
Two potential issues are emerging that may need to be planned for by suppliers;

•   the use of Long Term Agreements (LTAs); and

•   the potential for the re-introduction of ‘hello’ money.

LTAs are arrangements whereby over time, a supplier will provide additional discounts
when agreed volume targets have been met, the additional discounts often being
retrospective over the sales from an agreed starting point. LTA’s normally require a
significant degree of monitoring to measure the actual level of sales and to trigger the
discounts. In a context where retailers seek to forecast demand with a high degree of
accuracy and where retailers wish to have flexible purchasing arrangements, agreements
on supply at a particular price, irrespective of volume, are more common and in such a
context the potential for a continuation of LTAs should be limited. The view expressed by
some retailers is that LTAs place an onus on them to ‘sell’ the product to secure the
discount, and this is alien to their philosophy of providing what the customer wants.
However, LTAs are an important part of Irish trade relationships. Some suppliers have
noted that the levels of LTAs being demanded by retailers are increasing annually and that
there is little likelihood of them being displaced in the near future.

The issue of contracts will have to be carefully managed and negotiated by Irish suppliers.
Suppliers need to make sure their operations and processes are adapted and sufficiently
Page 102                            THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



flexible to meet demand as it arises, as contracted. This can have consequences for
suppliers where demand exceeds forecasts or where the prices negotiated were
discounted to secure an initial contract with the multiple.

4.4.12 ‘Hello’ Money: Overseas-based Buying Departments

While the payment of ‘hello’ money is prohibited in Ireland, it does happen in other
countries, although not for every deal. Irish suppliers may come under competitive
pressure for such payments. It may arise, in particular, where Irish suppliers are
competing for shelf space against other suppliers in a multiple on the Irish market that has
its buying department for the Irish market in another country, or that has existing suppliers
internationally. This may be the case in competing for access to international sales
channels and where there may be over-capacity on the supply side.

Suppliers to retailers in the UK for example, note that the level of such payments does
vary depending on competitive conditions within the supply sector and that occasionally
‘hello’ money ‘wars’ can break out. It is reported that in the US some retailers reserve a
proportion of shelf space for new products and will provide the space on payment of a ‘risk
premium’ or ‘hello’ money to stock new products for a trial period.

There is a view that Irish producers may have to pay cash up front for access to
international sales channels if they are going to compete with other country suppliers.

Irish suppliers seeking contracts in the UK will have to take account of the possible need
to pay ‘hello money’ when bidding for contracts, and where possible negotiate contracts
for cross-group supply through Irish buying departments, where they exist.

4.4.13 EMU: Suppliers bear Risks

Currently Irish suppliers to the overseas markets normally invoice in the currency of the
destination market and have a range of hedging strategies and currency management
approaches to cope with exchange rate fluctuations. While EMU will significantly reduce
the currency risk exposure of many Irish suppliers, retailers in the UK are certainly likely
to continue to expect manufacturers to absorb currency fluctuations for sterling
denominated purchases. However, a number of the internationalised UK multiples
including Marks & Spencers required that their suppliers be euro compatible from the start
of EMU, including their UK suppliers. This could place Irish suppliers at an advantage over
their UK competitors. With a stable or appreciating currency exchange rate between
sterling and the euro, Irish industry will have a significant opportunity to expand their
market position in the UK as well as in other EMU member countries. If it depreciates
significantly, certain sectors will become vulnerable.

With the introduction of the euro the best approach for suppliers should have been to seek
to invoice in euros from the start. Irish suppliers should also actively seek to diversify their
customer base and seek out opportunities to competitively supply to other retailers in the
euro zone.

4.4.14 Merchandising: Loss of Supplier Control

The situation at present is that suppliers control merchandising, in-store promotions and
shelf space management for their products. This is particularly important to suppliers
given the wide range of brands on offer in product categories. In the future however,
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                     Page 103



suppliers will have little if any control over the merchandising of their products. Sales
teams are not encouraged to visit individual stores for merchandising, shelf space
management or market research. In future, retailers will control the merchandising as part
of their category management plans and systems. Retailers are likely to only have a
limited number of brands on offer, generally the brand leader, the multiples own-brand
label product and perhaps a local preference or local supplier. Secondary brands may be
increasingly excluded.

With loss of control over merchandising and loss of shelf space, as noted above, suppliers
will have to decide whether to manufacture own-label products, the promotion of which is
the responsibility of the multiple, or to promote and develop their own leading brands and
try and build-in merchandising conditions as part of the initial negotiations.
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4.5        Implications for the Consumer

The consumer will be a primary beneficiary of developments in the retail sector. The extent
of the benefits derived will depend largely on the degree to which supply chain cost
reductions are passed on by lower prices, to some extent on the development of cheaper
own-label products and to some extent on the expected increase in the level of
competition. The benefits will not be confined to lower prices, but will include:

•     improved service;
•     greater variety of choice; and
•     improved standards.

Based on the cost structures and product ranges that existed in Ireland in mid-1997 the
potential quantitative benefits from the changes underway in the sector over the period
from 1997 to 2002 could be:

•     Up to £150 million per annum, if the industry estimates of supply chain changes
      underway and cost savings noted previously are accurate and if all the benefits are
      passed on by way of lower prices;

•     Up to £150 million per annum, if the expected levels of own-label sales of between
      20% to 25% occur in Ireland and if the price differentials between branded and
      unbranded products which are anticipated are passed on in lower prices to
      consumers. It is not anticipated that the consumer will benefit to any significant extent
      by price reductions in branded products;

•     maintaining high levels of local competition in the retail sector will be key to consumers
      gaining some of these savings through lower prices.

These benefits will not be achieved immediately but could be developed over a number of
years, possibly as many as five or more. These benefits should also be regarded as a
maximum. Retailers may decide to retain some of the benefits to increase margins and to
invest in the potential new developments in both shops and services. The potential
savings equate to about 8.5% of the Irish food and confectionery market. Food constitutes
22.85% of the consumer price index and price reductions of the scale shown would reduce
the CPI by about 2.2%. As noted above, this would be experienced over a number of
years.

An issue for the consumer, and the economy as a whole, is the potential for foreign
retailers to repatriate profits from their Irish operations. On this issue, it should be noted
that retail is a relatively low margin business, as demonstrated by the margins shown in
3.6.1 above.

The key to future levels of profit repatriation is the extent to which the Irish consumer
and the policy framework seeks to reap the benefits of change, rather than allow such
benefits to accrue to foreign retailers.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 105



4.6     Implications for Retail Employment

The following table shows historic and projected employment levels in the retail sector,
together with historic and projected GNP at constant market prices.

      TABLE 4.3:          GNP Growth and Retail Employment 1994-2003

       Year                         Employment              GNP at constant 1990 prices
                                                               market price (£’000)

      1994                             128,000                          28,552
      1996                             137,100                          33,297
      1997                             145,600                          36,010
      1998                             161,000                          38,996
      1999                             172,000                          41,553
      2000                             179,000                          43,698
      2001                             186,000                          45,989
      2002                             192,000                          48,375
      2003                             199,000                          50,756

      Source: QNHS, various years; National Income and Expenditure
              1998, and ESRI - Medium Term Review, 1999

On the basis of the historic relationship between retail employment and GNP, it is
suggested that employment levels could reach almost 200,000 by 2003. This equates to
almost 12% of projected national employment for that year, compared to just under 11%
in 1998.

While the numbers employed in retailing are likely to increase, it is also likely on the basis
of historic trends that an increasing number of jobs will be part-time. However, the
increased jobs will more than offset the estimated loss of 2,000 jobs in the logistic area
noted previously.
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5.0        CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1        Summary

The contribution and importance of the retail service sector to employment and wealth
creation in the Irish economy requires to be more widely recognised. The sector is a
significant part of the services sector overall and competition in the sector is important to
the competitiveness of the country. The pace of change in the retail sector is accelerating.
Recognising the dynamic role played by the retail sector in economic development,
employment growth and wealth creation, the following future objectives for the sector are
proposed:

•     Maximise price and quality competition in the Irish retail market;

•     Full adherence to competition rules on monopolies and mergers legislation;

•     Delivery of retail services to world class standards;

•     A competitive and innovative retail sub-supply sector maximising the links between
      Irish sub-suppliers and the retail sector;

•     A strong Irish internationally trading retail sector fully taking advantage of
      developments in information technology.

Retailers
The primary responsibility for the development of the sector should remain with the
sector’s trade and representative associations. The regulatory environment and the
competitiveness of the Irish sub-supply base will be critical to securing the full economic
and social benefits of the retail sector into the future. A number of actions are required on
the part of trade and representative associations and others to assist retailers prepare for
and adapt to the changing environment. These should include:

•     raising awareness and disseminating market information to retailers of the strategic
      and operational implications of the changes underway;

•     increasing collaboration among retailers in order to achieve economies of scale in
      purchasing and for information dissemination;

•     increasing collaboration between the retail sector and other sectors of economic
      activity such as the financial sector to broaden the range of services provided;

•     encouraging retailers to formulate and implement strategies to fully exploit information
      and communications technologies and electronic commerce for business operations;

•     the development agencies encouraging and assisting specialist and niche Irish
      retailers to exploit new international retail markets being opened in electronic
      commerce;

•     a continuation of the training and management development activities of FÁS to
      support the training activities of trade and representative associations.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 107




Suppliers
There is an urgent need for suppliers to assess their ability to meet the requirements of
Irish and foreign retailers for competitive supply. There is a need for a focused and co-
ordinated agency response to assist Irish suppliers develop their capability, capacity and
competitiveness for supply. Enterprise Ireland’s Supplier Development Programme has a
key role to play in increasing and sustaining the competitiveness of the retail sub-supply
base in a rapidly changing retail environment. The following are required for the
development of the sub-supply sector;

•   Irish food and clothing sectors need to continually monitor their ability to meet the ever
    more demanding requirements for supplying to the retail sector, in Ireland and
    internationally;

•   Suppliers will need to make the necessary investments in information technology to
    implement supply chain management strategies and Efficient Consumer Response
    (ECR) strategies;

•   It is recommended that the newly established National Institute for Transport &
    Logistics give a priority in its work to assisting Irish food and clothing suppliers;

•   The levels of product research, development and innovation in the food sector, in
    particular in the chilled convenience food sector, requires to be significantly increased;

•   The stringent quality, hygiene and food safety management systems required for
    supplying the retail sector into the future, need to be monitored continuously, to ensure
    Irish suppliers maintain the high-standards required;

•   A particular emphasis needs to be placed on identifying opportunities for Irish
    suppliers in own-label products, both nationally and internationally, and on
    encouraging suppliers take advantage of opportunities identified;

•   The relationships between Irish suppliers and the global sourcing departments of
    major retailers needs to be strengthened;

•   A benchmarking system should be established to monitor the market share, exports,
    productivity and ICT investment levels of the Irish food and clothing sectors.

Distributors
Distributors will be required to develop closer partnerships with, and adopt the structures
of, the major retailers into the future. Increased investment in ICTs and tracking systems
will be required. They will need to work with the National Institute for Transport & Logistics
in preparing for the changes underway. Local wholesalers and Cash & Carry groups will
have an increasingly important role in the future competitiveness of the independent retail
sector, in developing the supply network of the independents.
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Environment Enabling

Electronic Commerce
The availability of low-cost broadband telecommunications services is critical to increasing
the efficiency and competitiveness of the retail supply-chain in Ireland and to enable Irish-
based suppliers supply international markets. National and international connections to
the Internet backbones are also required to realise the full benefits of electronic commerce
in retailing.

Planning Regulation
The review of Planning Regulations in respect of retailing is an important initiative. The
proposed limits of 3,500 square metres in Dublin and 3,000 square metres outside Dublin
appear appropriate but the full social and economic impact of implementing these limits
require to be examined. The key concerns must be to retain the relatively spatially
balanced distribution of retailing that is currently in evidence in Ireland, from both an
economic and social perspective, while ensuring that consumers and the country realise
the benefits of full competition in the retail market.

Groceries Order
The coherence between the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs in administering the
Groceries Order and the role of the Competition Authority in respect of below-cost selling
in the retail sector requires to be clarified.

Ireland should lead in seeking to harmonise regulations in respect of the payment of ‘hello
money’ at EU level. The conclusions and recommendations of the review of the Groceries
Order being undertaken by the Competition and Mergers Review Group need to be quickly
developed and implemented so as provide certainty to retailers and suppliers into the
future.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                          Page 109



5.2       Introduction

The retail sector is an important part of the Irish economy, both through its direct
contribution to GDP and employment and through its linkages with other sectors of the
economy. Recognising the dynamic role played by the retail sector in economic
development, employment growth and wealth creation, the following future objectives for
the sector are proposed:

•     Strong price and quality competition in the Irish retail market;

•     Delivery of retail services to world class standards;

•     Full adherence to competition rules on monopolies and mergers legislation;

•     A competitive and innovative retail sub-supply sector maximising the links between
      Irish sub-suppliers and the retail sector;

•     A strong Irish internationally trading retail sector fully taking advantage of
      developments in information technology.

The retail sector will require suitable economic conditions to sustain growth into the future
including:

•     sustained increases in disposable incomes;

•     elimination of disincentives to provide employment; and

•     attractive rewards to entrepreneurs.


The following policy principles are proposed to guide the future approach to the retail
sector:

•     A full recognition of the key role of the retail sector in the economy in future national
      policy formulation and an integration of the requirements of the retail sector with other
      aspects of economic policy and enterprise strategy;

•     A retail market fully open to competition, ensuring fair and competitive practices, in
      particular to protect the interests of consumers;

•     A balanced assessment of retail’s impact on transport infrastructure and town
      planning; and,

•     The major responsibility for the development and growth of the sector must be with the
      industry itself and its representative associations, with the state mainly providing a
      facilitating and enabling support role.

5.3       Retailers

Sustaining the competitiveness and success of the Irish retail sector and of Irish
companies throughout the retail supply chain into the future will require a partnership
approach on the part of Irish retailers, distributors and Irish suppliers to compete in an
rapidly changing retail environment. From a national economic development perspective,
Page 110                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



it is important that Irish retailers, as well as distributors and suppliers, are competitive
and that they have the skills and capabilities to sustain competitiveness into the future in
the context of the increasing internationalisation of the sector.

Significant structural change is underway in retailing. Business representative and trade
associations in the retail sector and the large retail groups need to initiate information and
business development programmes for Irish retailers.

The objectives of these programmes should focus on raising the levels of awareness of
the structural changes taking place and on identifying strategic responses and initiatives
to improve the competitiveness of Irish retailers. Based on the research for this study,
initiatives in the following areas are recommended:

•   The Irish retail sector needs to increase the levels of information dissemination on the
    changes taking place and develop appropriate action plans to respond, remain
    competitive and drive the change process. Representative and trade associations
    have a key role to play in this respect, in monitoring, informing and supporting Irish
    retailers prepare for the changes underway;

•   Irish retailers will need to increase the levels of collaboration to achieve economies of
    scale in their operations and for dissemination of knowledge on technology and
    management practices, e.g., in forging alliances to achieve economies of scale and
    increase their purchasing power in the sourcing of goods and services;

•   Retailers need to work closely with other sectors of economic activity, such as banking
    and finance, to improve and extend the range of services offered to customers. There
    is potential for considerable synergies to be achieved between such sectors in the
    changeover to the euro, for example, and in accelerating the development of
    electronic commerce;

•   Retailers will need to increase their use of information and communications
    technology (ICT) in their operations and develop appropriate ICT deployment
    strategies. Such strategies need to focus in particular on the deployment of ICT in the
    supply chains of retailers where it can make a significant impact on efficiency and
    competitiveness. ICTs can also significantly increase the market research capabilities
    of retailers enabling them to both monitor changes in consumer demands and respond
    to consumer demands for value added services such as loyalty cards;

•   FÁS already plays a role in developing the capability of the retail sector through the
    provision of training and re-training programmes and management development
    programmes. In this context, the focus of, and resources allocated to, the provision of
    training services to the retail sector by FÁS require to be continually assessed so as
    to determine whether they are an adequate strategic response;

•   Specialist and niche retailers need to work with the development agencies to
    determine opportunities for international trade (through either outlet expansion abroad
    or electronic commerce), to assess their potential for internationalisation and to
    determine the actions required to prepare for, and to take advantage of, the
    opportunities presented by the internationalisation of the sector.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                         Page 111



5.4     Suppliers

The structural change underway in the Irish retail sector and internationally holds significant
implications for the future profitability and the strategic options open to Irish suppliers. A
significant proportion of Irish manufacturers have successfully supplied and are continuing
to competitively supply retailers in international markets. However, suppliers will need to
continuously assess their market position and business strategies as they face increased
competition in their home markets from foreign suppliers and in the context of the structural
change underway.

The implications for suppliers of the changes in purchasing requirements and procedures
brought about by the internationalisation of the Irish retail sector will require action by
suppliers at three levels; strategic, operational and in terms of purchasing procedures. The
future approach of suppliers with retailers requires to be based on developing long-term
partnerships and a market-led approach for the adaptation and development of products
and for continuously improving efficiencies and quality of production to meet the
requirements of the market.

Based on the research undertaken for this study, there are a number of key areas that
suppliers and the development agencies need to focus on to ensure that the Irish sub-
supply base remains competitive and continues to grow in a changing retail environment.

The capacity and capability of the Irish food and clothing sectors, to meet the ever more
demanding requirements for supplying to the retail sector, both in Ireland and
internationally, require to be assessed on a continuous basis. Suppliers need to focus on
building their capability and capacity to meet the exacting requirements of Irish and foreign
retailers. Increasing the levels of collaboration between suppliers should be used as a
means of increasing the ability of suppliers to develop the scale needed for volume supply
to the larger retailers.

The need to deploy Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) throughout the
supply chains of supplier enterprises requires to be more widely understood by Irish
suppliers. Suppliers need to adopt supply chain management strategies and Efficient
Consumer Response (ECR) strategies to improve the efficiency of the retail supply chain
in Ireland. The use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and the use of the Internet and
extranets by Irish suppliers requires to be significantly increased.

The newly established National Institute for Transport & Logistics should give a priority in
its work to assisting Irish food and clothing suppliers respond to the structural change in
the retail sector and to the required restructuring of the retail supply chain in these sectors
in Ireland.

The levels of product research, development and innovation in the food sector, in
particular in the chilled convenience food sector requires to be significantly increased. In
this regard, Enterprise Ireland’s Supplier Development Programme should involve and
draw on the expertise of the national food research bodies. The need for increased
investment or a specific initiative in the product development infrastructure requires to be
assessed.

The stringent quality, hygiene and food safety management systems required for
supplying the retail sector into the future need to be monitored continuously to ensure Irish
suppliers maintain the high-standards required. Suppliers should be assisted in
developing action plans to address deficiencies identified.
Page 112                           THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



A particular emphasis requires to be placed on identifying opportunities for Irish suppliers
in own-label products, both nationally and internationally, and on assisting suppliers take
advantage of opportunities identified.

The relationships between Irish suppliers and the global sourcing departments of major
retailers need to be strengthened.

A benchmarking system should be established to monitor the market share, exports,
productivity and ICT investment levels of the Irish food and clothing sectors. This
benchmarking work should include all retailers with significant market power.


5.4.1      Agency Response - Supplier Development Programme

Manufacturing companies can avail of a range of state agency assistance for capacity and
capability development, for product and process research and development and for
accessing new markets and developing marketing capability. Up to the time of the
formation of Enterprise Ireland, assistance has been provided through a number of
agencies including An Bord Bia and An Bord Glás.

During 1998, the food division of Enterprise Ireland piloted a Retail Supplier Development
Programme (SDP). This initiative is to be strongly welcomed. Both food and non-food
manufacturers supplying Irish and UK retailers are eligible to participate in the SDP. It is
aimed at firms supplying both own-label and branded products and at intermediate raw
material suppliers. The programme is to cover the areas of food hygiene, quality
management systems and supply chain management. The process involves an internal
diagnostic audit phase with consultants, and an implementation and review phase. Grants
of up to 50% towards the costs of the consultants and/or a project manager are available.
Training grants of up to £1,000 per employee are also available for employee re-training. The
total amount of grant aid per company allowable is £50,000.

Further funds should be allocated to the SDP so that the maximum number of food and
non-food firms can participate. In this regard, it may also need to be broadened to include
a wider range of relevant state agencies, such as An Bord Glás and the Food Safety
Authority, retailers and suppliers. It should also proactively seek out supply opportunities
within the retail sector, both in Ireland and abroad, and seek to develop a base of Irish
suppliers that can avail of these opportunities.

5.4.2      Supplier Teams

The concept of setting up specialised teams involving suppliers, retailers and business
organisations, should be considered possibly as part of the Supplier Development
Programme. This would entail the establishment of a number of teams, each of which
would focus on a single major retailer and would seek to maximise the benefits for Irish
suppliers dealing with that retailer. The setting up of such teams should maximise the
leverage that the agencies and the companies involved could achieve with individual
retailers. A forum for pooling information and knowledge, having due regard to commercial
confidentiality, should be established in conjunction with such teams.

The objectives of the teams would be to identify opportunities to supply the retailers and
to match those opportunities with suppliers or groups of suppliers that could meet the
retailers’ requirements in terms of product quality, availability, sureness of supply and cost.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                           Page 113



It is considered that this programme would be availed of primarily by niche suppliers,
though the opportunity to aid large-scale producers exists also. The formation of such
teams should also help niche suppliers to achieve economies of scale in sales and
marketing activities. In principle the beneficiaries of the initiative should contribute a major
portion, if not all, of the funding for such teams.

5.5       Distributors

As noted above the supply chain in the retail sector is being significantly shortened, as
retailers take control of their own supply chains to optimise efficiencies. Distributors will be
required to develop partnerships with, and adopt the structures of, the major retailers.
Unless foreign retailers can identify benefits and economies, in linking up with Irish
distributors, they will extend their existing distribution structures and transport fleets to
Ireland. In the future:

•     Distributors will be required to adopt the structures of distributors in the UK and do so
      as efficiently as in the UK. Significant investment in ICTs and tracking systems will be
      required. Irish distributors need to examine the potential for alliances with UK third-
      party distributors to the retail sector in the UK. They also need to work with the
      National Institute for Transport & Logistics in preparing for the changes underway;

•     Local wholesalers and Cash & Carry groups will have a key role in the future
      competitiveness of the independent retail sector. In particular, they will have a role with
      respect to developing the supply network of the independents, as it becomes
      uneconomic for suppliers to distribute both to central distribution centres, and to the
      independents. This will enable independent retailers, in particular, benefit from the
      purchasing power and distribution structures of such wholesalers. Similarly as the
      perceptions of quality and value of own-label goods increase and consumers move
      away from branded goods, wholesale groups will need to give a priority to the
      development of the ranges of own-label products they provide, to independent
      retailers, based on increasing quality and value.

5.6       Environmental Enabling

As noted earlier, the retail sector is the most significant part of the private services sector.
It faces many of the same competitiveness pressures and requirements as other sectors
of the economy. The impact that the infrastructures in Ireland, and that the overall cost
base, has on the competitiveness of Irish suppliers and retailers, requires to be monitored
and benchmarked on a continuous basis. The telecommunications infrastructure will be
critical in this regard. In the regulatory environment there are two main policy areas that
require to be resolved. These are the Ministerial Planning Order, 1982 and the Restrictive
Practices (Groceries) Order, 1987.

5.6.1     Telecommunications and e-Commerce

The retail sector should be targeted as a major growth sector in electronic commerce.
Initiatives and projects in tele-shopping and in the development of a strong Irish electronic
retailing sector and presence on the Internet should be targeted by the development
agencies. The national telecommunications infrastructure is critical to the future
development and competitiveness of the retail sector and its sub-supply base for two main
reasons.
Page 114                          THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Firstly, information and communications technologies now play a central role in the supply
chain and logistics management strategies of retailers and of suppliers. Information
networks between retailers and suppliers are critical to the operations and efficiency of the
retail sector. A national EDI telecommunications infrastructure and services require to be
planned and put in place. It should provide low-cost broadband access for retailers and
suppliers to information networks within the country. There are concerns among small
companies that they are at a competitive disadvantage in relation to communications
costs, services and information sharing relative to competitor suppliers in other countries
where the required services have been available for a number of years.

Secondly, there are significant new retail opportunities emerging with the development of
secure electronic commerce. It is opening new consumer markets that may previously
have required a physical presence. It is also providing new ways to deliver products and
services. However, it will also increase the levels of competition from other international
retailers that may not have a physical presence in home markets but can be accessed by
Irish consumers through the Internet.

In relation to sales via the Internet of both products and services, higher bandwidth
capacity is needed to provide good quality service. Given that the potential for Internet
sales is significant and that the Internet may be highly lucrative for small Irish producers,
the national communications infrastructure should be capable of providing such services
cost-effectively. The provision of the required broadband telecommunications
infrastructure and logistics services could enable Ireland develop a leadership position in
Internet related shopping activities.

5.6.2      Planning Regulation

To date, retail developments in Ireland, particularly very large retail units, have been
controlled by the application of planning regulations. Policy directives issued by the
Minister for the Environment to An Bord Pleanála in 1981 and to local authorities in 1982
specified that the Bord and the planning authorities had to consider:

•   The need for any proposed developments in the context of existing retail outlets;

•   The suitability of the size and location of the proposed retail development in the
    context of existing retail outlets;

•   The effect on existing communities and on established retail structures;

•   The quality and convenience of existing retail outlets;

•   The needs of the elderly, infirm and other dependent on existing retail outlets; and

•   The need to counter urban decline and promote urban renewal.

In practice, planners have on occasion refused permission for developments where there
is a substantial possibility of a development impacting on the existing retail structures of
town and cities.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                             Page 115



There are strongly held views that a ‘laissez faire’ approach of no planning regulation
would allow retailing to become highly concentrated in certain areas, and consequently
leave many areas un-served. This would be particularly detrimental to consumers in
remote areas, and those that do not have access to transport to the retail centres as well
as negatively impacting on the social fabric of the country. On the other hand, there are
views that the current regulations are used in such a way that they inhibit developments
which will make retailing competitive and efficient, and therefore anti-consumer.

Partly as a result of the limit on the size of outlets in the country, Ireland has not yet
witnessed the growth of out-of-town superstores that developed in the UK in the 1980s.
There is now a view in the UK that these developments have seriously eroded the social
infrastructure of towns and villages in the UK. In 1996, the UK introduced planning
guidelines for retail developments. The provisions of these guidelines are similar to those
in the 1982 Ministerial Order in Ireland. Other European countries have also introduced
similar regulations seeking to maintain a competitive and efficient retail sector while, at the
same time, reduce the need for consumers to travel or to have access to motor cars. The
pros and cons of the existing planning regulation can be summarised as follows:

   Pros of Planning Regulations                     Cons of Planning Regulations

   Provide some measure of protection to city       Limits consumer access to larger stores
   centre traders, vital to sustaining a            offering wider choices with lower prices.
   community in city centres, a role made more
   important in the context of recent urban
   renewal initiatives.

   Ensures the provision of retail facilities and   It is based on the assumption that out-of-
   services for small communities and the           town shopping will displace trade in town
   disadvantaged in society, including those        centres. This assumption ignores the growth
   with limited transport facilities.               of urban areas and growth in consumer
                                                    demand.

   It reduces dependence on the motor car.          It does not take account of the insufficient
                                                    capacity of cities and towns to cope with
                                                    increasing volumes of traffic.


The practice of regulatory authorities in other countries has been to seek to maximise
consumer benefits by ensuring competition at local, rather than national levels. A key issue
in considering future regulation on large store developments in Ireland is how effective
local competition, which maximises the consumer benefit, can be ensured.

In effect, the current planning requirements may impose some cost on society by limiting
consumer choice and possibly preventing lower prices. However, this cost should be
measured against the potential loss to city centre and remote communities, and the costs
of those assessing the remaining retail facilities.The Department of the Enviornment and
Local Government commissioned a study on large scale retail centres which was
published in April 1999 for consultation entitled ‘Retail Planning Guidelines.’

The interim cap on planning developments of 3,000 square metres introduced by the
Minister for the Environment and Local Government during 1998 was a very timely
intervention. The limits proposed following the review noted above of 3,500 square metres
on developments in Dublin and 3,000 square metres outside Dublin were deemed by the
consultants Roger Tym and Partners and Johnathon Blackwell and Associates who
prepared the report for the Department of the Enviornment and Local Government to be
appropriate for Ireland.
Page 116                                  THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



Overall, the principles for development in the Irish planning process in respect of retail
development need to be clearly defined and set out following a process of consultation. It
needs to take account of the changes in retail formats, consumer demands and population
spread that are under way and also take into account the impact of retail developments
on the installed transport infrastructure and town planning.

5.6.3      Groceries Order

The Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order was introduced in 1987. Its principle features are:

•   a ban on below cost selling;
•   a stipulation that suppliers be paid on time; and
•   a ban on ‘hello’ money.

Following an initial review of the Order in 1995, the Minister for Enterprise and
Employment decided to retain it for a period of two years. The Competition and Mergers
Review Group (CMRG) was subsequently established in 1996 and was requested to
examine the provisions of the Groceries Order.

A number of organisations wish to have the Order retained or replaced with primary
legislation which would cover those areas of the Order not covered by the Competition
Acts. Requests to abolish the Order have been made on the basis that it has been
detrimental to the grocery sector by preventing retailers from competing with each other.
The Fair Trade Commission recommended in 1991 that the Groceries Order be abolished.
The Director of Consumer Affairs has suggested that if the Order is to continue in some
form a new piece of legislation (probably a Groceries Act) would be required. The
Chairman of the Competition Authority suggested in a paper to a Competition Press
Seminar in February 1997, that the Order was an anomaly and that its removal might
promote a greater degree of competition in the grocery trade. The pros and cons of the
Groceries Order in respect of below cost selling are summarised below;

        Pros for Abolition of the Order                      Cons for Abolition of the Order

    Could lead to lower consumer prices by                Could have significant consequences for
    lifting restriction on retailers’pricing practices.   small and medium sized retailers that could
                                                          not compete with the predatory pricing
                                                          practices of multiples.

    Would remove policing difficulties which              Would allow predatory pricing by importers of
    create an administrative burden on retailers          own-label products and could thereby drive
                                                          Irish branded products from retail outlets

    Does not apply to fresh vegtables and fresh           Would not necessarily provide lower overall
    meats                                                 food prices as reductions in certain goods
                                                          could be offset by higher prices elsewhere



The key concern referred to by both retailers and suppliers is whether the Order can be
applied in full in a retail environment that is becoming increasingly international and where
transnational retailers operate businesses in a number of countries. In the traditional
structure, where retailers were Irish based, where most suppliers were also Irish based
and where many imported products were channelled through agents or distributors, the
policing of pricing arrangements, selling practices and payment arrangements could be
carried out with relative ease and relative completeness. This is no longer the case.
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                        Page 117



With regard to ‘hello’ money the view within the industry is that as multi-national retailers
have an international supply base, it is possible for supply arrangements to be negotiated
outside Ireland. It is therefore possible for arrangements which are illegal in Ireland, but
which are not illegal in other jurisdictions, to be negotiated, in respect of suppliers to
Ireland, in other countries. Thus, for example, a supplier based in continental Europe
could agree terms of supplying Irish stores with the retailer’s buying department in another
European country. Hence, product pricing arrangements and ‘hello’money practices could
be agreed in another jurisdiction by other suppliers for supply into the Irish market.

The Order may have limited benefits given the powers of the Competition Authority to act
as described and the difficulty in policing activities outside Ireland although the Office of
the Director of Consumer Affairs is satisfied with its ability to police the Order. Primary
legislation may be required to better deal with the issue of below cost selling. A
harmonised regulatory approach across the EU in respect of the payment of ‘hello money’
would be of considerable benefit by increasing the transparency in the purchasing
practices of retailers in international markets. The development of a harmonised approach
on this issue should be actively promoted by Ireland at EU level.

In any case, the conclusions and recommendations of the review of the Groceries Order,
being undertaken by the Competition and Mergers Review Group, need to be quickly
developed and implemented, so as provide certainty to retailers and suppliers into the
future.
Page 118                       THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND



           REPORTS PUBLISHED BY FORFÁS IN 1998/1999


Report                                                          Date of Publication:

Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on the £250 Million Scientific and
       Technological Education (Investment) Fund                        January 1998

National Competitiveness Council (NCC)
      Annual Competitiveness Report 1998 &
      The Competitiveness Challenge Summary Statement                     March 1998

Broadband Telecommunications Investment in Ireland                        March 1998

Annual Survey of Irish Economy Expenditures
     Results for 1996                                                      April 1998

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on a Partnership Approach to Research Funding –
       The Need for a National Science and Engineering Research Fund       May 1998

1997 Employment Survey                                                     June 1998

Statement of the 3rd National Innovation Conference
     Partnership for Success: Collaboration for Innovation
     and Competitiveness                                                   June 1998

Forfás Annual Report 1997                                                   July 1998

Basic Research Support in Ireland
      An Evaluation of the Basic Research Grants Scheme
      Operated by Forbairt                                               August 1998

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on Science in Primary Schools                       September 1998

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on Innovation in Enterprises in Ireland               November 1998

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on Mechansisms for Prioritisation of State Expenditures
       on Science and Technology                                        November 1998

National Competitiveness Council (NCC)
      Statement on Telecommunications : A Key Factor in
      Electronic Commerce and Competitiveness                          November 1998

The First Report of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs
      Responding to Ireland’s growing skill needs                      December 1998

National Competitiveness Council (NCC)
      Statement on Skills                                              December 1998
THE DYNAMICS OF THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND                                                                 Page 119




Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on State Priorities for 1999                                                         January 1999

Business Education & Training Partnership
     Report on the Inaugural Forum, Royal Hospital Kilmainham                                           March 1999

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on Investing in Research, Technology and Innovation
       (RTI) in the Period 2000 to 2006                                                                 March 1999

State Investment in Science & Technology, 1998
      Financial allocations by Government for 1998 to institutions engaged
      in any activity related to science and technology – the Science and
      Technology Budget for 1998                                           March 1999

Forfás/IBEC : Telecommunications for Business : A User’s Guide                                            April 1999

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Technology Foresight Ireland                                                                        April 1999

National Competitiveness Council (NCC)
      Annual Competitiveness Report 1999                                                                   May 1999

Annual Employment Survey, 1998                                                                             July 1999

Report on e-Commerce - The Policy Requirements                                                             July 1999

Annual Report, 1998                                                                                    August 1999

Irish Economy Expenditure Survey, 1997                                                                 August 1999

National Competitiveness Council (NCC)
      Statement on Social Partnership                                                            September 1999

Survey of Research in the Higher Education Sector 1996                                                October 1999

Irish Council for Science, Technology & Innovation (ICSTI)
       Statement on Science in Second Level Schools                                               November 1999




 Reports may be downloaded from the Forfás web-site - www.forfas.ie. A full listing of all reports published by Forfás is
 available from the Information Office - Tel. 01 6073134

								
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